Glenna Williams, Class of 1935
I remember the one and only visit that President Roosevelt made to the community of Arthurdale [Class of 1938 Graduation]. I was teaching at the nursery school. All the teachers, nursery through high school, had a luncheon for the president and Mrs. Roosevelt. Several days before the president came some secret service men came to plan just where and how the president would enter each building, where he was to go and to oversee the building of necessary ramps. They also inspected each ingredient used in the food preparation and tasted the prepared food before it could be served to the president. On the day of the luncheon arrangements were made to take him into the dining room before any guests arrived. When we entered he was seated at the head table and greeted us as we entered. Mrs. Roosevelt was late because she had gone to Morgantown that morning to speak to the graduating class at Monongalia High school, the only high school for blacks in our area, and to send off her daily newspaper column, My Day. When she entered the president called her a nick name and teased her about being late. Mr. Nine, the school principal, presided. It was a very informal atmosphere with much fun and laughter. When it was over Mr. Nine dismissed us and we left while the president was still seated at the table.
School was not in session this day. This was the day for which everyone in Arthurdale had been waiting. The first graduating class [Class of 1935] was to receive their diplomas that evening in the Community Center Building. Mrs. Roosevelt was to present the diplomas. My step-sister, Mildred, was one of the three girls receiving diplomas. I usually did the cleaning for my mother on Friday. I had cleaned the living area, down the basement steps, and was finishing the basement area that was used for the laundry. I could hear strange voices upstairs. I heard the door open at the top of the stairs, and a voice I recognized as Mrs. Roosevelt’s. The group was descending the steps with the intent of looking at the room where the fruits, potatoes, and canned vegetables were stored. Looking for an escape, I went into that room, then finding the need to hide, I stayed behind the door. I did not feel not feel my appearance was presentable to the First Lady. I never thought of the group wanting to look in the cellar! After I heard the front door close, I went upstairs. Mother asked, “Where were you?” I replied, “Behind the fruit cellar door.” She said she did not see me. I did not want anyone to see me! This was only one of the many times Mrs. Roosevelt and her guests appeared at our door unannounced.
Jettie Boggs Eble, Class of 1939
I remember very well the trip President Roosevelt made to Arthurdale. As a member of the Junior class that year , I helped to usher the people attending graduation to their seats. I was impressed by the large number of people who came to see the president and be close to him. There were people standing behind the gym all the way up the hillside. Mrs. Roosevelt was a plain-looking woman. She didn’t put on […] or wear makeup or fancy clothes to be stylish. But the personal interest that she took in everyone, by trying to help them, made her appear radiant and vibrant. At the White House luncheon when I was a senior, I recall that we sat at tables of four and Mrs. Roosevelt came around to talk to each of us. I have remained interested in the lives of the President and Mrs. Roosevelt. I have visited their home in Hyde Park and read their biographies. We all viewed them with awe because of their high rank, and the interest they showed meant a lot to everyone in Arthurdale.
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