OCTOBER 5, 1956
CHARLESTON, W.Va.—We had a comfortable trip by air to Pittsburgh Monday morning. There John Hight met us and we went up to the Ambassador's Club lounge, since I had more than two hours to wait for a plane to Clarksburg, W. Va.
These airport lounges make all the difference in the world if you have a long wait. I went over with Hight the information which he brought me, and he went on to Detroit, while my secretary, Miss Helen Curnan, and I flew to Clarksburg.
We arrived there on time to be met by three of the sweetest little girls carrying bouquets of small yellow chrysanthemums. I was both surprised and delighted to see my old friend, Raymond Kenney, with whom I worked in the depression days years ago when the homesteads were established in West Virginia.
After the need for the homesteads was passed, most of them were sold either to the families who originally moved into the homes or to others. Now these communities are no longer the kind of cooperative community project then envisioned but have developed, I understand, into the pattern of the ordinary village.
I would be interested to go back and see if any of the community projects ideas that we hoped would be useful have remained and if they serve to draw the people together in cooperative efforts, or whether the usual individualism that marks us as a nation has reasserted itself and cooperative effort is at a minimum.
There were many other kind people at the airport to greet me, and on the way into the city we paid a call on a former national committeewoman who is now an invalid. Then we settled down at the hotel and I had a press conference, after which I did a short tape recording to be used here during United Nations week.
I was glad to learn that we now have the beginning of an active chapter of the American Association for the United Nations in Clarksburg and that members are going to have a U.N. information booth in the hotel lobby during U.N. week.
At 6:30 p.m. there was a dinner attended by a large number of people, more than had at first been anticipated, and later there was a meeting. Then we flew with the Governor to Charleston, W. Va., as he had very kindly asked us to spend the night there.
Tuesday morning we drove the 50 miles to Beckley for a Democratic luncheon, and then back here to Charleston for an evening dinner. The national committeewoman, Mrs. Violet Snedegar, seems quite hopeful of Democratic victory in the state on November 6.
I am rather sad to find that the coal industry is still depressed. The economy of the state as a whole is not as prosperous as we are told by our Republican friends the entire country now is.
I have never thought of West Virginia as a farm state, and yet one of the first things asked me was what could be done for agriculture. There is some dairy farming, some raising of cattle and considerable fruit farming.
None of these farms are very large, however, so they would fall, I think, in the category of small farms, which are not doing very well anywhere.
John L. Lewis, who heads the United Mine Workers is, I am told, for the Republican party. This does not surprise me. But while he has a complete and loyal following among the miners wherever labor questions are concerned—and he certainly deserves this following, for he has obtained for them all their gains—we must remember that on former occasions they have not always followed him politically and this may be one of the years when they may decide that a Democratic administration will serve their interests better than a Republican one.