FEBRUARY 17, 1960
WASHINGTON—Well, after a rather hectic weekend, I got back to Hyde Park Monday morning to fill an early engagement there—though I must admit I was 40 minutes late.
I feel very guilty today that I did not keep my secretary more carefully informed on Sunday as to my movements, since apparently the newspapers and the radio frightened everyone near to death by making them think I was lost. And all the time I was very easy to locate, since I was sitting in a very comfortable, warm Greyhound bus waiting for a line of trucks nearly 12 miles long to move.
I had left New York on a TWA flight for Pittsburgh, Pa., at 8:15 Sunday morning. We had to leave from the hangar on account of the weather. Then we had a little rough weather in the air, so that breakfast was delayed until around 9 or 9:30 o'clock. But none of us had any idea that there was any question about landing in Pittsburgh until the captain told us we were "holding" over the city until the runway was cleared.
Finally, we were told we had to land in Columbus, Ohio, because the Pittsburgh airport said that no sooner were the runways cleared than the snow was blown right back on them again.
I was slightly disturbed because my luncheon date in Pittsburgh was at noon and I had no idea if there was any way to get from Columbus to Pittsburgh even in time to speak after lunch.
In the Columbus terminal I had a call from Pittsburgh that informed me that the lunch had been called off. I then asked if it would not be better to take a plane right back to New York, since the roads were bad and I might not get to Pittsburgh in time for dinner.
The airline was sending a bus to take the passengers from the delayed trips, so when I told the Pittsburgh people this they urged me to come on the bus, since they felt sure the roads would be clear and there would be no difficulty. Feeling an obligation to meet my dinner engagement at least, I started off a little after one o'clock.
The bus was practically filled, and I really admired the spirit of those passengers. Everyone had had his plans upset, but there was laughter and joking with the bus driver and a kind of good-humored friendliness that I rarely feel in any other country in the world.
We went on quite rapidly for about two hours and a half and then our troubles began. In West Virginia the road is only a two-lane highway. It was not very well cleared, and as far as policing goes I saw no state police until they came to look for me sometime around 9:30 or 10 o'clock in the evening.
What happened was that the trucks, not having chains, got stuck on the grades and traffic piled up behind them in both directions until there was a line 10 to 12 miles long outside the little town of Washington, which is across the West Virginia border in Pennsylvania.
I have the Governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. David Lawrence, to thank for the fact that the state police finally came to inquire if I would not be willing to walk a mile to where we could get on an alternate road and perhaps get around the jam. The young bus driver held me firmly by the arm and insisted on walking all the way with me. His friendliness and cheerfulness all the way I shall always remember.
We had had no dinner, though some of us had been able to get off and get some sandwiches and coffee at a little wayside stand. One young man got a bun with some ham and brought it to me. And Mr. William Cohen, who had joined me in New York City as he was going to the same meetings, was as solicitous as he could be. People are always kind and look after me with care.
I felt sorry to leave my fellow passengers behind to go with the state police, but I thought of the 11 o'clock train that I must catch if I were going to make my Monday morning appointment in Hyde Park, so with many apologies I started off. Once in the police car, we took a back road and made quick time, but it was evident that I would not make my 11 o'clock train. I did, however, make an 11:36.
Governor Lawrence, who was attending the dinner at which I was supposed to speak, was kind enough to come to the station and himself arrange to get me a train reservation for the night.
So, I filled my Monday morning engagement and enjoyed the rest of the day in Hyde Park. On Tuesday I spoke before the Hyde Park Rotary Club at noon, and then to Hartsdale to speak for the American Association for the United Nations at 8:15 p.m.