My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Saturday seemed a very quiet and peaceful day outwardly, but inwardly everybody was under a certain tension. Curious how the feeling that something important is about to happen, hangs over a house, just in the way you feel a thunderstorm before it breaks. Everybody went about their business as usual and everyone had plenty to do. My husband was putting finishing touches to his speech, seeing a number of people, signing innumerable papers and his secretaries were running on and out.

Mrs. Scheider and I were clearing up all the mail we could before leaving and trying not to forget anything important. A friend brought his daughter to lunch with me, and James and his wife, and John and a friend arrived from Philadelphia to go back on the train with us. At four-thirty a group of people whom Mr. Gerard Swope had asked me to receive, five hundred and fifty strong arrived and I greeted them as they went into the State Dining Room for refreshments before being shown the White House, and at five fifteen we were ready to leave for Philadelphia. I went in to ask my husband what time he expected actually to get off, for I noticed the other members of the family in various stages of preparation. My husband looked up and said: "Just four minutes," and we knew from his tone of voice that those four minutes were going to be fully occupied and we had better wait elsewhere which we did!

The trip to Philadelphia went quickly and we had the amusing experience of hearing over the radio the announcement of our own arrival. Without thinking, I went out on the platform of the car to see if Anna and John and Franklin, Jr., who were to meet us there had arrived and almost immediately I was reminded that my movements were being recorded and retired rapidly inside the car!

Then the drive through the streets, with the Vice President and Mr. Farley, the tremendous crowd at the Stadium, everyone standing and the Star Spangled Banner being sung by Lily Pons.

A man must come to a moment like this with a tremendous sense of responsibility, but that must be very much augmented when he realizes by watching the crowd about him what his thoughts and words are going to mean to innumerable people throughout the nation. I had read the speech but it meant much more to watch the faces of people and hear the seriousness with which it was actually delivered and received. A variety of impressions register at great moments and a hundred and one pictures flashed before me, the face of a friend, the solemnity of some one who I rarely see in a serious mood, the excitement of a child who will probably not even remember what it was all about—then it is over. We drove around the field, back to the station, a night on the train and here we are on Sunday at Hyde Park.

E.R.
TMsd 28 June 1936, AERP, FDRL