MAY 9, 1959
WASHINGTON—When I was in Dayton, Ohio, on Thursday, I began to wonder how many times I had visited that city, and it seems to me that it was so many times that it was impossible for me to remember. Anyway, at a luncheon which the Junior League held after my speech at the Town Hall I sat next to Mrs. James Cox, and when a photographer came to take a picture of us she smilingly said, "I don't think we have had a picture taken together since 1920."
That was the year my husband ran for the Vice-Presidency and Mr. Cox ran for the Presidency. They were defeated, together with the League of Nations, but since 1920 I have been in Dayton for many different groups and it is certainly a progressive city. I was impressed by a project there to study other parts of the world, and there actually has been a demand put before the school authorities that the study of Asia and of Asian countries shall not be neglected in the regular curriculum.
I hope they will add the study of Africa, too, because that seems to me almost as important as Asia for the future—and they should certainly include the Near East in their studies.
After the lecture and the luncheon I returned to the hotel and had the pleasure of talking for a minute with an interesting woman, Dr. Eleanor Brown, who lives in Dayton and manages very well to get about with her seeing-eye dog.
She has written a number of books, the latest one being "Corridors of Light." All of her books, of course, deal with the problem of blindness and I think they are helpful to anyone affected in this way and even to the general public because of the philosophy underlying all the adjustments that must be made by those who are in any way handicapped.
Dr. Brown is the first blind woman in Dayton to earn her Ph.D., and she still substitutes as a teacher in the public school system.
In Dayton I also met another young woman who is deeply interested in teaching handicapped children—particularly the deaf and the blind—how to dance. She is Mrs. Thomas Kirchner, and she is most anxious to find out what is being done in other countries throughout the world. I gave her what little information I had, and the best suggestion I could make was for her to consult the consuls of every country and to ask them for all the imformation they could provide.
Mrs. Kirchner is working to have her project recognized on a nationwide basis in this country. She feels it is most important that children, who are handicapped by the loss of their sight, be given the ability to take part in dancing, and that children who are hard of hearing be taught to appreciate music.
She told me that after only a few months of teaching the deaf children that she was often told by others that the children's posture improved along with their coordination, balance and self-confidence.
This proved to her how helpful we can be to handicapped children, and, therefore, she is working hard to spread this idea throughout the country and even on an international scale.