My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—A beautiful day, and soft summer air. Floating through the windows are the strains of martial music to remind me, the gallant GAR are marching down Pennsylvania Avenue perhaps for the last time. What an historic occasion for them to be repeating their first march!

These Confederate and GAR reunions always touch my heart. They seem such pathetic wisps of old men, standing so straight and proud in their uniforms living over again the glories of their youth. All honor to them—they gave what their country asked of them to the fullest extent.

An interesting letter came to me yesterday from a young friend in the middle west who has tried a novel experiment. She found her family rather depressed, things were growing shabby and yet what could they do? Money was scarce, business was not going so well and they lived in an old house filled with possessions and grew gloomier and gloomier every day. But young blood was not to be gainsaid. She took the three rooms they lived in most and painted them apricot, yellow and blue, had all the curtains and spreads dyed to match. She cleared out all the cupboards, went through trunks and boxes stored over the garage. She sold a raft of furniture and got enough money to pay for the changes she was making. She brought beautiful china that had been stored away, down into the cleared cupboards where everyone could enjoy it.

Five auto loads of books and magazines went to the library, enough clothes for an entire family were taken out of old trunks. The family doctor gave away dishes and linen which was no longer being used to some one he knew in poorer circumstances. A large double bed, unused for years, went to a family of seven where the children were sleeping on the floor. A few books and the National Geographic went to this family also and the father told the doctor that after seeing how the Chinese coolie lived, he didn't think he was so badly off and that next year he would somehow have a little garden.

What this girl did stirred up the men in the family who had not been getting orders, and they began to clear out their office and suddenly orders began to come in. Perhaps the clearing out was good for the brains as well as for the physical surroundings.

Why couldn't we use our WPA surplus commodities warehouses or our Red Cross and do something in our own houses and in our own communities which might help other people and at the same time give us a fresh start?

E.R.
TMsd 23 September 1936, AERP, FDRL