My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

TOPEKA, Kan.—Lecturing in wintertime is certainly a precarious occupation. On Monday morning in New York we were informed that our plane which was to take us to Madison, Wis., had been cancelled, but that we would be booked to leave at 12:14 p.m. Whereupon we checked in at Idlewild Airport and boarded the plane.

Then the pilot came to me and said he thought he ought to tell me that fog in the area of the country to which we were going was pretty bad. The Detroit field was closed because of ice on the runways and we had only a 20 percent chance of getting into Madison.

But if I did not stay on board this plane I could not be in time for the evening meeting at the University of Wisoonsin, so with some trepidation I said I would take the 20 percent chance. Besides, if we had to land in Minneapolis, as the pilot said we might have to do, I would take the train back to Chicago, near where I was to speak on Tuesday evening.

Also, there of course were a number of other people on the same flight, taking the same chance—if they knew it—but I wasn't sure they had been told.

Anyway, when we reached Milwaukee word came that we were going to be able to land. I must say I was glad when we were out of the fog and I could really see what was around and below us. Fog gives one a lost feeling, for there is no way to tell what may be quite close to the plane's flight. The way I look at it, the only thing to do is to trust in the Lord and try not to think of the many difficulties your pilot has to face.

After landing safely in Milwaukee, we took off again and a little while later we landed safely in Madison. Gov. Gaylord A. Nelson and Mayor I. A. Nestingen of Madison were both kind enough to come and meet me with a committee of young people from the university. In the evening the governor's wife attended my meeting, which was very heartening to me, for the weather was far from pleasant.

We had dinner with the Union Forum Committee, which was followed by a press conference, after which I spoke at a meeting that was attended by some 1,300 people, according to my hosts.

Certainly, the auditorium was full, in spite of the bad weather. But perhaps the weather did not seem so bad to people who are accustomed to such a bitter wintry climate. After my talk there was an informal gathering with the students, and they were full of interesting questions.

Then we were warned that there would be no planes flying out of Madison in the morning, so we switched our reservations to a 7 a.m. train and arrived in Chicago four hours later.

We shall have a number of very early-morning starts on this trip, so I thought it was good training to be called at 5:30 in the morning to get ready for that 7 o'clock train. And I find I do not really mind getting up early, but it does make for a very long day, especially when your schedule is full and there is no time for a catnap or two.

On Tuesday afternoon we drove from Chicago to Sycamore, where we enjoyed an informal dinner, after which I spoke at the local high school.