MARCH 10, 1939
FORT WORTH, Texas, Friday—Yesterday was a beautiful day. The gardens along the way from Baton Rouge to Beaumont, Texas, were blooming, so at almost every station some kind people came down to greet me and bring me blossoms.
In Beaumont we were greeted by some very gay looking youngsters who came from the nearby town of Orange. They marched in front of us all the way to the hotel, brave in their new uniforms and playing lustily. There I went to the mezzanine gallery to listen to them play. A brass band, even a band of young ladies, can make a great deal of noise indoors. These youngsters played well and the very small ones twirled their shining batons out in front and at the same time performed acrobatic feats. They were really very amusing to watch.
Beaumont has two newspapers, but since they are under one management I was spared a newspaper conference on arrival. Instead, I was met by a young girl reporter on the train, an intense and vivid personality and one who voiced a desire which cheered me greatly. She wanted to know what young women could do to serve the cause of their country and of democracy. That is a spirit which most of us welcome with a deep sense of gratitude, for the cause of democracy needs service today.
I would be glad to see the Government make it possible for volunteers to receive training over a given period of time, by rendering some service which would be of use to the communities in which they live. This thought has often come to me when we have discussed the need of keeping young people out of the labor market for a longer period of time. The remarkable work I have seen in hospitals and government offices of various kinds done by WPA and NYA workers, leads me to believe that when these projects come to an end there will be real hardship. Perhaps some of this volunteer service would prove useful in civic and charitable work.
Texas NYA seems to be particularly interested in the assistance given education and in the resident projects which are apparently working out very well. They are also anxious to assist boys and girls in need of work, giving preference as far as possible to those whose families are on relief, but not barring from the resident projects youngsters who could not obtain the type of training available there in any other way. These youngsters come from families where the income is in the low brackets, though not perhaps actually on a relief basis. This seems to me to be a wise plan which I hope Congress will consider, though I realize that it presupposes careful and honest local administration.
We boarded the train at 11:30 and I, who have usually seen Texas as a rather arid state, was surprised this morning to look out on fields which have evidently had more than their quota of rain. We stopped for a brief moment at College Station and I had a glimpse of the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College buildings. Since our son, Elliott, is one of the trustees and I have been trying to come down here for Farm and Home Week, this little glimpse was interesting. It seems to me a very big college with a great many buildings. Near the railroad tracks were the dairy and farm buildings which looked up-to- date and very efficient.