My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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DES MOINES, Iowa—A pleasant evening last night in Chicago talking to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Braested, and Mr. Louis Ruppel; reached the train a little before eleven o'clock, arrived here at seven thirty this morning. I can not quite get accustomed to do much solicitude and attention on the part of everybody! Someday I suppose I may expect it but it is still a surprise to me, and when I was called up last night and told I could not possibly travel in a day coach for a part of my journey where the regular train does not carry a parlor car, I have to confess to being almost indignant at being considered different from the rest of the world. Then I realized that it had nothing to do with me, just with the fact that I happen to be the President's wife and must be treated differently. I think I shall have to learn this lesson every little while so as not to forget it.

Dr. and Mrs. Morehouse and General Graw met us at the station this morning and we went at once to the Fort Des Moines Hotel for breakfast, and we were all ready and reached the University at nine o'clock. The academic procession was just forming as we arrived and I slipped into my cap and gown and joined the line. There is nothing in the world I believe as hot as these gowns and as we walked across the campus to the church where the exercises were held, I realized I was getting warmer and warmer and more and more nervous. I do not think I shall ever get over being nervous before a speech, especially a speech for young people but this was a remarkably attentive and helpful audience to talk to.

This is my first visit to a middle western university and I was struck by the alive and keenly attentive looks on all the faces. One young man had written me a letter asking what I thought there was in life for college graduates. His letter was rather badly typed and therefore had not made a good impression on me but as I saw him come through the line to get his degree, I thought him as fine and upstanding a youngster as one could wish to see and I hope he will use a better ribbon on his typewriter in the future, particularly if he is applying for a job.

We watched the news carriers' parade given by the (Des Moines) Register for a few minutes after the exercises were over, and then I went off to visit WPA projects.

E.R.
TMsd 8 June 1936, AERP, FDRL