MARCH 12, 1949
COLUMBIA, Mo., Friday—We have certainly been blessed with wonderful weather on this trip. We couldn't have had a more beautiful day than yesterday to fly over the Rocky Mountains. On the Canadian flight I think the mountains are a little more majestic. But they are impressive enough in our Western states as you fly out of Los Angeles and then come down to the desert country and finally to the irrigated fields. In this area it is plain to see how man, by intelligence and work, can change nature's conditions.
In Phoenix, we walked around a little in the sun, which was warm and delicious. However, I was told that the winter had been very hard on the fruit growers and that one man, who had his fruit spoiled for the third year in succession, just cut his trees down in disgust. My informant, though, was typical of the optimism of the West, for with a shrug of his shoulders he said, "Next year will be good."
We arrived in Kansas City at 8 o'clock and were met by two students and two members of the staff of Stephens College. The usual photographs were taken and we immediately set out on our three-hour drive to the college here in Columbia.
Dr. Homer P. Rainey, who is now president of Stephens College and with whom I did some work in the old days in Washington, met us as we arrived at the school. He and Mrs. Rainey had asked us to stay with them and so we spent a comfortable night and are now ready for the many activities that have been scheduled for today.
One of the girls told me last night with bated breath that she is taking a course with Maude Adams. I gasped, for my memories of Maude Adams go back many years. She was not a teacher in those days but a perfectly charming and delightful actress. No one who ever saw her in "Little Minister" or any other of the various plays that she appeared in will ever forget her charm and great ability. Evidently she is exerting this same charm over her students here.
The young girl talking to me said, "It is extraordinary what depth and volume there is in her voice when she herself is such a little thing. She makes us appreciate the beauty of poetry and the value of diction."
I have always felt that to give young people a real affection and appreciation of the masterpieces of literature, both in prose and poetry, was more important than to have them able to recite a vast list of titles of books read but which have never touched them intellectually or emotionally. It is better to read one poem and really feel it yourself and understand something of the emotions of the writer than it is to read a whole volume of poetry and remain untouched and unchanged by it.
Dr. and Mrs. Rainey, themselves, must be an inspiration to the students, who always have an opportunity to come into their home. There are books everywhere and I find that being exposed to a house filled with books is something of real value to young people. In addition, in the little room where I write this column, there is a considerable collection of records which I have been looking at with interest. One could spend many evenings listening to good music in this little book-filled room. Some modern inventions really bring to our homes things that give us joy and are a broadening and deepening influence in our development.