My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Two perfectly glorious days and as we all went to church this morning, I felt again the magic of autumn on the Hudson River with all its varigated colors.

When the leaves begin to fall in November there is a certain sadness that comes with the feeling that summer is gone, and that all things have to go at least to a temporary rest. But at this time in October there is just a riot of color and joy in the brisk autumn air.

I could not help smiling to myself over a headline in the paper, as we were driving up to church, my husband sitting beside me without a coat, while the rest of us pulled our coats closer around us. The headline: "His mollycoddle philosophy is called typical of Roosevelt." The Roosevelt, of course, is my husband and below his philosophy of security, and so-called popularization of dependency and an easy life was contrasted with Theodore Roosevelt's philosophy of the "strenuous life." No one who really knew both men could have made that contrast. Theodore Roosevelt always preached the strenuous life to keep yourself fit physically, mentally and spiritually but the ultimate objective was before any other—making a home secure. In his mind the first duty of every man and woman was the security of the home which naturally means an easy and dependent life for the youth in that home.

No man who has brought himself back from what might have been an entire life of invalidism to strength, and activity, physical and mental and spiritual can ever be accused of preaching or exemplifying a mollycoddle philosophy.

My acquaintances who exemplify the philosophy of the mollycoddle are not amongst those to whom my husband is trying to bring greater security and ease of life. Most of my mollycoddles have had too much ease, too much dependency, too much luxury of every kind.

For instance, a lady who complained sadly to her maid that she must close one of her five estates and give up the support of a hospital she had subsidized, because of her increased taxes. The maid reflected and later imparted to me the fact that out of her reduced wages she had five people to support during the depression instead of the customary two. Which of the two I wonder was in danger of acquiring a mollycoddle philosophy? Which of the two needed a little help and concern to make life easier?

E.R.
TMsd 4 October 1936, AERP, FDRL