NOVEMBER 13, 1954
FRESNO, Calif., Friday—I was so pleased to return to Fresno after more than ten years and, as the gentleman who managed the auditorium was also the manager of the Chamber of Commerce, I heard a number of interesting things about the growth of the county.
They say it has doubled in population in the last ten years and has the highest per capita agricultural income in the whole United States. It produces more cotton than any county in the country. This has come about only in the last ten years since they have built wells that go deep and can irrigate what would otherwise have been completely desert areas. They also grow more raisins and more peaches than any other county and they are the center of the wine-making industry. As you look down from the plane you see such neat and tidy rows in the fields and those are usually grapevines.
It is an extraordinary thing how everywhere you go in California you are told of the great increase in population. This is often attributed to the fact that many soldiers who were in camp here during the war have returned because they fell in love with the climate.
I must say that it is delightful to know that you will not have rain over a long period; and then to be prepared to have rain, starting with an occasional shower followed by daily rains during a couple of months. To live with flowers blooming everywhere and yet to be able, in a few hours, to find yourself in the mountains enjoying winter sports, such as skiing, I acknowledge is a very remarkable combination.
In spite of all that, however, I know I should miss my change of seasons at home in New York. And though I enjoy my visits here, I can never imagine wanting to transplant myself unless there was some compelling personal reason. I have always said that a woman could move anywhere and live anywhere, if she had someone for whom she cared supremely with her. Just to find a different climate, I am quite sure would never tempt me to move.
On arriving in Fresno we found a delightful invitation from a Mr. Bart Rustigan. He worked for 20 years as manager in the Omar Khayyam's restaurant in San Francisco, which Mr. Mardigan owns and which is famous for its food. Three years ago, Mr. Rustigan came back to his native town of Fresno, where he now operates the Iran Restaurant. So he invited Miss Corr and myself to come over and enjoy his shish kebab.
I was grateful for his kind invitation but we were dining with Mr. Gordon Hewson and his wife. They had very kindly included in their party the young gentleman, Mr. Bert De Lotto, who was to introduce me and supervise the question period after my lecture.
They did a clever thing in handling the questions. Since they wanted to have the questions written, they put a folder in everybody's seat with a blank page at the back for the questions and a pencil folded over and clipped in. This made it easy for everybody who wished to take part in the question period.