FEBRUARY 18, 1955
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—"I hate to bother you, but would you mind just signing an autograph?"
I don't know how many times I heard that sentence as I sat on a bench in the Dearborn station in Chicago the other morning. I had not yet had breakfast, I had just come off the train and was about to drive across the city. I was reading the newspaper while Miss Corr telephoned to find out if the planes were flying or if we should take the train to Lansing, Michigan. The decision was to take the train. The telephoning took a little while and I was sitting there waiting, and before I knew it one person after another was saying, "I don't wish to bother you, Mrs. Roosevelt, but my children would love to have an autograph."
One old lady stopped and said, "I so loved your husband. I saw him once while he spoke from the back of a railroad train. I have never forgotten it and I am so glad to be near you, and actually see you in person."
Truly, the world is full of kind people, but one can't sit too long on a bench in a railway station, so I was glad to go for breakfast!
But I must tell you how I spent the previous day in Waterloo, and Cedar Falls, Iowa, where I spoke at the Iowa State Teachers College.
We got off the train at Charles City on Tuesday morning and were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Morris Crawford of the school's Social Science staff. They suggested that we might like some breakfast, and we learned that they, too, would like to supplement the orange juice and coffee they had consumed somewhere around 4 a.m. They had to get up at that early hour to have their one-year-old daughter started on her day and get their house in order before starting to meet us. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford were charming young people—the kind who give you hope when you find them in the colleges preparing our teachers for tomorrow.
Our drive from Charles City to Waterloo did not seem long though it was some 50 miles. We stayed in Waterloo, which is a busy little industrial city. Like most industries in Iowa, however, these depend on the farms in the area. Waterloo's industry, for the most part, is a packing plant and a farm machinery factory. At the Russell-Lamson Hotel we had the Congressional suite, which was truly luxurious, so we had a leisurely day before driving over to Cedar Falls and the one teacher's college that the State of Iowa has.
We dined with President and Mrs. James Maucker of the college, and I found them to be both very young and delightful.
I am prouder than ever of the ability of American women, for in every place we go they manage to run their homes and their children and entertain with apparent delightful ease. And yet it must be such a burden when they have to use, and probably train, the young girls who come in to help on these occasions!
I think the wives of our college presidents and professors deserve a special word of appreciation and gratitude, for they do make possible the work their husbands carry on.
The college auditorium, where I talked, was crowded and, following the lecture, there was a coffee hour in the Student Union Building which turned out to be a real question period. Finally, I had to tear myself away to get to my train at a reasonable hour.