My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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GRAYVILLE, Ill.—We had a parade of high school bands pass the house about nine-thirty this morning, and then visited a sewing project and an NYA exhibit in the Carnegie Library Building.

An Illinois farmers' picnic, sponsored by four counties—Wayne, Wabash, White and Edwards, took up several hours of our day and was a most interesting and novel experience for a lady from the East! I have been to county fairs and all kinds of organization picnics at home, but there were contests today which I had never seen before. I am afraid we can not start hog calling in Dutchess County, but I think some of our horse shoe throwers could compete with Illinois, but I would love to hold a husband calling contest to see if our New York women's voices carry farther than they do in Illinois! The winner had a delightful call which ended with: "Come on and do this washing, I'm going to see Mrs. Roosevelt!"

The man of straw set up for the ladies to throw rolling pins at was quite a joy and the wood chopping contest perhaps required more skill than any other. It was interesting to see how well the older men could chop a log. The contest was won by a modest young colored boy who was questioned by the forester as to his ability and responded he was "pretty fair," and then chopped the log through in one minute and twenty seconds.

I am serving notice now that the next picnic we have at the Val-Kill cottage, we are going to have some new contests never tried before in our county.

During the picnic a WPA band and a chorus of forty negro voices furnished really good music. The picnic was held on a farm belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Frost, and they came down and joined forces with Mrs. Helm and we all sat together on the platform and shared our lunches—more food than any one could possibly eat and very good—ham, chicken, stuffed eggs, salad, apple pie and cheese and every kind of cake.

When we left the picnic grounds we went for a short drive in order that we might see some of the soil conservation and forestry work done by the CCC boys. The terracing is very interesting and it was significant to discover how comparatively little rural electrification or even running water in the houses, there is in this section of Illinois.

Mrs. Helm at "at home" again this afternoon and the WPA bands are giving a concert in the street at six o'clock, so the day has been a full one but a very enjoyable one.

E.R.
TMsd 15 June 1936, AERP, FDRL