My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Friday—Last evening we held the Congressional Reception. This is one of the largest receptions and perhaps one of the most difficult to handle with fairness to all concerned.

There was a time when several thousand people were asked to these receptions and I can remember many years ago spending well over an hour progressing up the stairs into the East Room, and even longer gradually approaching the President and his wife. In those days the entire Cabinet was lined up also to shake hands with the guests.

Now we attempt, for the sake of our guests as well as for ourselves, to limit the numbers so that the entire line can pass the President in a little more than an hour. Of course, before this administration began the custom had changed and the Cabinet members and their wives remain in the Red Room where they greet people when they come in and therefore they are not obliged to stand in line.

There are always certain people who are entitled to invitations to a reception. The Congressional Reception, for instance, includes all the members of Congress and their immediate families. Then other requests are considered. It is these requests which are difficult and naturally those who are late in asking feel that they have the same rights as the others, and when they are told that the capacity number has been reached, it is a great disappointment.

More than a certain number, however, would mean that no one would have a pleasant evening. As it is, after the President goes upstairs, I always go back into the dining room and down the corridor to the East Room to have a look at those who are dancing and I really think it is possible for people to enjoy themselves.

This morning I am on the trail of a new "Scamper." Our small grandson, Bill Roosevelt, who is staying here at the moment, has read and enjoyed both of my daughter's books about "Scamper" and every morning since his arrival he has demanded to know where Scamper can be found. We used to have bunnies in an enclosure at the back of the White House, but the numbers of dogs in the White House finally made it rather difficult to keep them safely apart. Now all the dogs are gone, so I am satisfying Bill by starting in on bunnies again. They will doubtless be very entertaining playmates for any visiting children unless Bill becomes so fond of this one he insists upon taking it home with him!

I started to be a growling lion on the floor this morning, only to discover that I was being too realistic and my grandson had run away. Then I had to change into a bucking bronco and put him on my back while my brother held him on and that was entirely successful and ended in roars of laughter as we both collapsed on the floor.

E.R.
TMsd 29 January 1937, AERP, FDRL