My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SANTA FE, N.M., Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I saw a most unique project outside of Amarillo, Texas. An old club house, near a municipal golf course, has been taken over by a group of women and turned into a tuberculosis preventorium for small children. One woman was the moving spirit. She started out with a fund of eighty-five cents and today, with the help of the WPA , a new building has been built and 35 children are being restored to health.

Amarillo's housing project is also quite unique, in that the women on the project have taken an old store and equipped it as a practice house. The women put in the partitions, papered the walls, refinished the floors and laid the floor coverings. They renovated old furniture and made new furniture out of packing cases and an old tool shed in the backyard. They have made a very satisfactory sewing room and store room.

They sodded the yard and laid a brick walk. In fact, they proved that, with proper guidance, a woman can do almost anything about a house. Equipped with the training they have received here, the women have gone into homes where the mother is ill and have done her work. They also show people on the economic level of the W.P.A. worker how best to stretch meagre incomes so that the standard of living may be the highest possible.

I must tell you one amusing story. Just before my lecture last night, a little girl called our rooms at the hotel and said to my secretary: " I want to speak to Mrs. Roosevelt. My mother and daddy are going to the lecture, but I am not allowed to go, so I want to ask Mrs. Roosevelt to broadcast her lecture so I can hear it." We decided that Texas children will get on in the world, nothing seems to daunt them.

We got off the train this morning in Belen, New Mexico, at 7:35, and since no one was in sight to meet us, everyone in sight offered to drive us to Albuquerque. We decided, however, that someone would call for us. Because we had had no breakfast, we sat at the counter in the Harvey Restaurant and ordered coffee and rolls. In a few minutes, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Calkins came for us and obligingly joined us at breakfast.

Mr. Calkins reminded me that he had met me twenty years ago when my husband and I went to Silver City, New Mexico, to see the Fergusons. Mrs. Ferguson is now Mrs. John Greenway. I asked Mr. Calkins if he had seen her lately and he said that two years ago they sat next to each other at a lunch counter just like the one we were sitting at.

The first glimpse of these mountains always thrills me. They lay ahead of us and to our right, snow-capped with marvelous shadows on the slopes. We drove through an Indian pueblo on the way to Albuquerque, which interested me very much because I had never seen one.

Once in the hotel, we had little time to ourselves. First a press conference, then a meeting with the WPA workers under Nancy Lane, who is the director of the women's and professional projects in the State. The State Administrator, Mr. Fred G. Healy, was there also and I was given a hurried glimpse into the work of each division. Then the National Youth Administration Director, Mr. Tom Popejoy, took me to meet his advisory committee for a few minutes. The rest of my tale must wait till tomorrow.


(Copyright, 1938, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Santa Fe (Santa Fe County, N.M., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 11, 1938

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.