OCTOBER 18, 1956
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—I spent last Friday in New Jersey and, since it was Columbus Day, it began with a meeting at a pioneer Columbus statue, erected in honor of the Italian discoverer of the New World.
The statue honors him not only as a discoverer but as a pioneer who founded this land not only for his Italian compatriots but for people of the world and, as a result, we have here in America descendants of people from many countries.
I liked the little ceremony, for I always take pleasure in the emphasis placed on the remarkable legacy we have from adventurers who were willing to go forth into the unknown and, in so doing, experienced great hardships and at the same time provided their descendants with a great and powerful nation.
A woman has taken exception to my statement that living expenses in the South, particularly in Florida, are less than in the North. She writes:
"It is not true that that we do not have the expense of buying winter clothes and heating homes. It is just as expensive to buy winter clothes and be prepared for heating homes here as in the North....
"I am a widow with three children, work as a receptionist at $47.50 a week and need additional neat clothes to wear to work—another added expense besides the children's school clothes and school supplies.
"Living expenses are not lower in Florida. Food is exactly the same price as it is up North. Even our citrus fruit is expensive."
Then, as an afterthought, she adds: "Even doctors' fees are higher than yours."
From this woman's point of view, Florida evidently is not a place where living is easy. She continues:
"I, too, tried growing vegetables. The expense involved in keeping the damaging bugs off the young plants just didn't pay...Soil here needs additional composts, as our sandy soil does not have all the needed nutrients for growing vegetables and desired flowers."
I apologize. I didn't realize that things were so difficult, but I can see that probably nowhere is the rising cost of living easy to take. Whether you live in the North or South, the cost of living has gone up. What we should do about this probably requires careful study and some new solutions. I will not claim again that any part of the country is easier to live in than any other.
It seems that I am getting a number of interesting biographical books of late. One, on Emma Lazarus by Eve Merriam, came the other day. I also have one which is an autobiography of Marian Anderson and another called "A Gentle Knight," by Poppy Cannon.
The latter is more than a biography. It is the story of Walter White, a man who played a great part in the rise of his people, and I think many people will enjoy reading it.