My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

ALBANY, N.Y.—Everyone is familiar with the numerous details that keep one busy in settling a house, so I think to-day it might amuse those who read this column to know of some of the strange situations in which I have been obliged to write it!

One day stands out vividly in my mind. My husband was opening Shenandoah Park and we left Washington early in the morning. Mrs. Scheider brought the portable typewriter and came along in one of the White House cars that was going back that afternoon. We were busy all the morning, we picnicked for lunch, and my husband made his speech at about three o'clock in the afternoon. I had told him before hand that as soon as he had finished speaking, I would dash for the other car and the typewriter and would he please wait for me, before proceeding to Richmond. He was most reassuring and said it always took him quite a while to get out and there would be a number of people to whom he would want to talk. I made my way to the car, feeling somewhat rude because several people tried to stop me and talk when I knew that I had no time for conversation.

Mrs. Scheider was there with the typewriter already opened on the little seat in front of her. We no sooner began to work than people began to come up to the windows of the car, and say: "I just wanted to shake hands, Mrs. Roosevelt," or, "My little girl would be so happy if I could have your autograph." In desperation I beckoned to the chauffeur and one of the Secret Service men standing near, and begged them to stand on either side of the car until I was finished. In about one minute, Mr. McIntyre came along and put his head inside one of the windows. My heart sank: "Oh, is the President ready so soon?" To which he responded: "Oh, no, he is talking to the Governor and is entirely happy, having already announced that having a wife who is a columnist, he occassionally has to wait for her. I just thought I would like to see you work!"

Observation never adds to one's speed, but the first draft was finally done. I corrected it and read it off in its final form to Mrs. Scheider. By that time the Western Union man who takes the newspaper men's stories was standing near and offered to take charge of it, and see that it was filed. We were very doubtful whether he would reach Richmond in time, and debated with some anxiety whether Mrs. Scheider should take it back with her to Washington, but even then she might be too late. At last we entrusted it to Mr. Linkins, and it got off in time.

Story number one—tomorrow I will tell you some others.

E.R.
TMsd 7 September 1936, AERP, FDRL