My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Of all the camps run by the government, I think the transient camps are the most interesting if varieties of human beings appeal to you. Camp Saratoga was shown me under the most favorable conditions for the young assistant foreman who was my host, spoke of the men in a way which made me smile and say: "You really love these men, don't you?", and he replied with fervor: "Yes, I do!"

Originally the men in the camp had been for the most part older men, but of late a number of younger ones averaging in age about twenty-two have come from another camp which had been abandoned because it had been more of a school, whereas the regulations require productive work of everybody.

The first and most noticable thing was the cleanliness. Everywhere—kitchens, dormitories, out of doors—scrubbed and neat. There is one big room used for recreation, here was the radio, magazines, and on the mantlepiece a horse shoe won by one of the men in a horse shoe throwing contest, and evidently considered the property of the camp.

The food was good and after supper they went out to play a game of baseball. We watched for a while and I had the feeling that on the whole, temporarily at least, these men were fairly content and certainly all those in charge of them had an interested and sympathetic attitude. One young man, a foreigner, stopped me as I was going in and said he was a European nobleman and most grateful for what the government was doing. I could not help being touched even though I reflected that he had at least more security as to his life under his present conditions. It was not likely that the government would demand that he be shot at dawn and that is a possibility faced by a good many people who inhabit certain European countries today.

We reached home about ten p.m. and this morning I went into the pool when I first got up, feeling that I might not have much more exercise during the day for driving a car can hardly be termed exercise. I love to swim when the dew is still on the ground and everything is fresh and quiet, that feeling of having a new world all to oneself is a grand feeling.

We three breakfasted on the porch, and Major Hooker left soon afterwards. After seeing my grandchildren and giving various orders so that all would be attended to until I returned, Mrs. Scheider and I started off for Westbrook, Connecticut. We are now about half way, having just eaten our lunch under a tree, and must proceed.

E.R.
TMsd 25 August 1936, AERP, FDRL