NOVEMBER 30, 1937
GREENSBURG, Pa., Nov 30—Arthurdale is a grand place, I meet so many old friends, but this time there were a number of new things to be seen—new equipment in the high school for the science room and for some of the manual training courses, and new furniture in the library which makes it look like a really liveable room in somebody's house. I wanted to sit down and stay a while.
We paid a visit to a man and his wife who have eleven children, the youngest one three months old. Their little four-year-old was the first homesteaders' baby born on the project and they are to me a remarkable family. The mother, who is young and pretty, and a grand housekeeper, with shelves stocked with canned goods for the winter, and a barrel of meat put down on the porch for us, is proud of the family and cheerful about her many duties.
One of the homesteaders who is seventy-six years old told Mr. Pickett that he had never in his life been so well off. He dealt with the cooperative store and had spent about four hundred dollars cash during the year, had sold produce worth one hundred and twenty six dollars and had food enough set aside for his own family during the winter and had grown enough vegetables to supply not only himself but his son and daughter and their families. That is not a bad record for seventy-six years old!
I was delighted to see again a young couple who drove over from Wheeling, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Hamilton. They are running a most interesting community forum in Wheeling and I think it is an encouraging sign that these forums are starting in so many places over the country so that both sides of various questions may be discussed. I have been told that here and there opposition has been expressed to these forums. It comes probably from people who are afraid to have certain ideas discussed because they disapprove of them. This seems to me rather foolish because it shows, I think, a lack of confidence in our own institutions. If we cannot know and talk about what is being done elsewhere, we must have very little conviction that what is essentially right will triumph at home. I believe that when people know and understand all sides of a question as they should in a democracy, they will have the intelligence to choose such things as are in our American tradition and have been part of our beliefs ever since this nation was founded and they will adopt such new ideas as they consider desirable to our needs.
I never spend a day such as I spent yesterday without a sense of great humility. It is a triumph under certain material conditions to retain your self respect and to keep on living without bitterness. One of my old friends up Scott's Run has been ekeing out a pretty skimpy existence I gathered, by taking care of two very old men. Her husband is a miner but he has had no work for several months and yet she invited us into her kitchen with as true hospitality as you or I would show in asking someone into our drawing room.
We spent the night in Morgantown and were on our way early this morning to visit the American Friends Service Committee's project in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.