AUGUST 15, 1956
CHICAGO—I reached Chicago Sunday at 10:15 A.M. after a very calm and pleasant flight. I had been told I would have a press conference, but somehow the spirit of the convention had not yet fully registered with me and so I did not realize that the moment I entered my room the telephone would begin to ring and people would begin to knock at the door, asking for autographs.
I always wonder if these autograph-seekers just knock indiscriminately at every door, for I am quite sure that the hotel desk does not give out room numbers.
The season of hurricanes seems to be upon us. I read in the Monday morning paper that one they have named "Betsy" was on its way to Miami.
I could not help thinking that a convention, in a way, is somewhat like a hurricane. The lobbies of the hotel and the streets near the hotel are all jammed.
One poor, patient donkey has been outside the Sheraton-Blackstone, where I am staying, all day and probably a good part of the night, so I hope he can sleep, regardless of noise, standing up. The noise is deafening. At 6 A.M. yesterday morning a band was playing outside the hotel.
I am grateful for the fact that it is cool, though on Sunday afternoon from 4 to 6 o'clock Adlai Stevenson did not think so. He mopped his brow and seemed quite appalled by the crowds attending his reception. I think that, being less accustomed than I am to shaking many hands, he became more weary than I did as the people streamed by us.
Someone told me that there were at least 10,000 people at this reception. Certainly no other candidate can claim anything like the jam that surrounded us during those two hours.
I visited a number of delegations with Stevenson during the day and was happy to meet the people from Colorado and many other states.
We ended up with a big meeting of the Michigan delegation, and there I saw some familiar faces and enjoyed meeting again young Governor G. Mennen Williams. He was in his shirtsleeves, partly because of the heat and partly, I think, because he felt this was a working meeting and sooner or later they must get down to business, which was symbolized by shirtsleeves.
People keep asking me if women get into smoke-filled rooms at a convention. I have yet to find any room really smoke-filled. But I think the women at this convention are getting into all of the political caucuses in very great numbers.
A buffet supper was given Sunday evening by the Chicago host committee. It was a pleasant party and I also enjoyed going to the reception for House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas. There I saw my old friend, Senator Tom Connally, whom I had not seen for a long time; Senator Lyndon Johnson, Grace Tully and, as we were leaving, Governor Averell Harriman of New York.
Bright and early on Monday morning I was called for and driven out to Faye Emerson's television show, which took place outside the convention hall. I enjoyed being with her, but it was a rather windy day and I don't know how tidy our hair looked as we discussed politics and conventions in general, with considerable emphasis on this one!
I got back in time to visit the Stevenson headquarters, the National Democratic Committee headquarters and to attend the National Democratic Women's breakfast at which some clever skits were given. Then I attended briefly the opening session of the convention and had lunch out there.