My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

MODESTO, Calif.—I am seeing new areas of the U.S. on this trip that I have not seen before. Pasco where I spoke last Monday night at a state junior college is a growing industrial town. Not far away at Richland is one of the new areas being developed as a big atomic plant in an enormous tract of land which was waste land. It has been taken over and they have built 15 miles of railroad and 250 miles of road in it. Some of the young men working there are taking courses at the college. There is also the first dam being built on the Snake River. This is one of Senator Magnussen's special interests and we were driven out to see it. There will be more dams to follow and it will develop power and make navigation possible which would mean a great deal in this whole area.

It seemed to me as I looked at the land that a good deal which is now desert must at some time have been grazing land. At present it would be well if they would plant a good deal of the land in trees. There are no trees anywhere. Their rainfall is only about 7 inches and while there will be irrigation from some of the dams being built, I would think the planting of trees in this area was of paramount importance.

We have had so far a series of vicissitudes in our travels. They called us up on Monday evening to tell us that the train we were supposed to take at 12 o'clock was delayed because of a landslide and therefore we would not make our connection in the morning in Portland with our plane. After searching for an alternative way we found a train stopped at a station some 15 miles away on the other side of the river for one minute. We got accommodations on it and caught that at 11:30 and got into Portland in ample time. To our anxiety, however, we found a low-lying fog as we drove to the airport and we were soon told that our airplane could not get down and would be at least an hour and a half late. We had breakfast, read two Portland papers and waited. Finally the fog cleared and the airplane came in but we realized that we would miss our connection in San Francisco for Chico where I spoke Tuesday night. Again on arrival in San Francisco we searched for ways to reach Chico. Finally a very nice young woman from Western Airlines found that we could get a plane to Sacramento two hours later if someone would drive from Chico and meet us there. We thought it was only 50 miles but it turned out to be 100. They did drive down, and we reached Chico in time to get a bath and dress for the evening meeting. We had a glass of orange juice and waited to have dinner at the end of the evening!

I suppose we will have to have one more complication and then I hope the jinx that is following us will be over for this trip.

We drove through part of the area near Marysville and Yuba city which was flooded last year and we were told that so far nothing has been done to prevent a recurrence of this costly flooding. Northern California has suffered so much from these floods that it seems incredible that they do not try to get some basic plan started to take care at the source of the flood waters.

Eleanor Roosevelt
TMsd 13 February 1957, AERP, FDRL