FEBRUARY 6, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—My usual bad luck with trains held, unfortunately, to the very end of my trip. When I left the State University at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Thursday night we were told that the train was on time, but just a few miles out of Raleigh the brakes went wrong and the train was held up for more than two hours! I had to keep my kind hosts waiting with me, when I knew they should be in bed. I, too, was weary when the train arrived and I got off. I was happy to get to New York City in time for lunch on Friday.
Late in the afternoon, after doing a few errands, we motored to Hyde Park, and that evening I began on the pile of mail which had accumulated. It is gradually growing smaller, but I am not as yet anywhere near finishing it. If any of my correspondents wonder why they have not had an answer to their letters, I can only apologize and say I have been away for three weeks.
Chapel Hill stays with me as a delightful memory. They kept my room filled with flowers, and the winter has been so mild that camellias, daffodils and iris are blooming.
This university is one of our oldest state universities. It was in fact the first to be built, though I believe a charter was granted to the State University of Georgia first. The old buildings are very charming and the new ones, far from spoiling the general feeling of dignity and beauty, have added to it. Losing Dr. Frank Graham will mean much to the students. They had great confidence in him and any new president will have to face the task of winning that confidence over again, but it is a challenge worthy of any man's ability. The university has had great influence in the South and has established a fine liberal tradition.
I saw an example in Chapel Hill of the success that can be achieved by a refugee. This man, who came over from Austria 11 years ago, had formerly run a fine restaurant in Vienna. He established a little shop in Chapel Hill and now does a thriving business. We went in one morning and found the place filled to capacity. There was an array of pastry and cakes to make one's mouth water, and the Viennese coffee was really delectable. While we sipped ours, I learned that the man had won a position of high regard among the students, many of whom went to talk to him because of his friendliness. He has brought over quite a number of his family and friends, all of whom are self-supporting.
On the way home I read a book by Milla Z. Logan called "Cousins and Commissars." Though not especially political in character, it describes a visit to a little place on the borders of the Adriatic which is now part of the Republic of Montenegro in Yugoslavia. It is written with no effort to hide conditions, but with a great sympathy for the people whom the author, through her mother, has learned to know and love. I recommend it for amusement—but, also, for tears. It is a story of life; and life is none too easy.