JANUARY 13, 1960
FRESNO, Calif.—Miss Corr and I met at the Chicago airport on Sunday morning to make the trip to the West Coast together. Mr. Clark Eichelberger and the staff of the American Association for the United Nations stayed on in Chicago for private consultation with any representatives from the region's states who wished to discuss any problems. Later they left for their various destinations, most of them going back to New York and our two field people starting on trips where they were going to work.
In spite of gray skies Miss Corr and I had a smooth flight and were on time in reaching Phoenix a little before five o'clock. There my son Elliott and his wife Minnewa met us and we drove out to their new house in Scottsdale.
They had an unfortunate incident on Christmas Day. Through faulty building the woodwork around their fireplace caught fire, and before it was discovered most of their living room was burned out. But they saved their house and, instead of a large living room with a beautiful view, they now have a few chairs in a tiny space which is boarded off from the burned section.
And just before returning to school, Minnewa's son had an accident and broke his ankle. But, unfortunate as both of these incidents were, the second one mitigated the first because there is more concern over an accident to a human being than there is over a loss which can be repaired. This is true even though a great deal of irritation with builders, architects and insurance people may have to enter into the final replacement.
Fortunately for Elliott, the fire people discovered some other structural weaknesses which might have caused fire and these also will have to be remedied. But at least they will not run the risk of another fire.
Minnewa is really a genius at building interesting and attractive houses and decorating them in the most delightful way. This house is built up on a mountain ridge, with a view of the desert and Scottsdale in the distance. At night when all the lights are lit not only in Scottsdale but in other little outlying districts it is really a breath-takingly lovely view.
The house is built around a swimming pool and a gallery runs all the way around where she has hung the family portraits and many of their beautiful drawings. The colors she uses are sometimes daring, but somehow her house is restful and quite perfect. Her dining room has a view also out over a wide expanse, and you feel that so much of herself has gone into this house that you do not wonder she hates to leave it.
Monday morning dawned with rain and was so foggy that Elliott could not fly us to Needles, Calif., and instead he drove us the whole way, nearly a five hours' drive. I was really distressed because of his having to take it alone going back, and I shall be relieved when I know that he arrived safely home.
We drove for miles Monday afternoon through the desert, with the stark mountains beautifully outlined, without any vegetation, in the distance. The desert itself is greener than I have ever seen it, because of the unprecedented amount of rain. But even then it is still the desert, and you look at the scattered little settlements and wonder what brings people to settle there.