My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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This has been an interesting day. Dr. Will Alexander, the Administrator of the Farm Security Administration in the Department of Agriculture, and I went out to the Greenbelt, Maryland project this morning to see what changes had come about since last spring.

House after house is now occupied, a temporary cooperative store is open, the school is functioning and this place which had only workmen when I was there before, is now a real community. I was amused to have the young mayor tell me that everyone wanted to hold meetings and start community activities, and that though they had not grown up together, everybody wanted to know everybody else.

They have no street lamps as yet to relieve the darkness at night, but they tell me that when all the houses are lit up, it is most attractive. As an example of the neighborly spirit that exists, I was told that one woman coming down to the post office after dark heard a voice say! "Good evening," and responded promptly "Good Evening, may I know who you are?" They have had some of the usual vicissitudes which accompany new houses and new settlements. Two houses leaked, the bus company which had practically agreed to give the community transportation service, backed out on second thought, but these difficulties have been surmounted. The houses have been repainted and the bus is now being run on a cooperative basis, showing that with the right kind of determination difficulties can be conquered.

One of the most interesting stories which I had never heard before, was the story of the establishment of the nursery for trees and shrubs. When the ground was being cleared, one of the men on WPA remarked that it seemed a shame to destroy so many good plants. Enough could be salvaged to landscape the entire community, he said.

The people in charge asked him what he knew about gardening and discovered he had been brought over from Endland to take charge of one of the estates of a very rich gentleman who decided when the depression came along, that the proper way to economize was to get rid of his employes, so here was an excellent gardener on WPA. He was given the change to salvage everything he could. Most of the things he salvaged have lived in the nursery and he has done every bit of the landscaping with material taken out of the woods on the property.

I feel the Federal Government should take the lead in getting the maximum cooperation on all its projects for the good of the people.

TMsd 9 December 1937, AERP, FDRL