My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ALVA, Okla., Friday—While I was speaking this morning my eldest son called me all the way from Washington. The story which has seemed to be of greatest interest to everyone out here had reached Washington and they were worried! It was too bad that it was not absolutely accurate for it caused one youngster, according to newspaper reports a great disappointment. He was the son of my hostess at one of my stops and he had read that I carried a gun with me! Someone had evidently forgotten to mention what I actually said, namely, that when I motored and was driving my own car by myself, that the Secret Service had asked me to carry a pistol and that I did it and had learned how to use it! I do not mean by this of course, that I am an expert shot, I only wish I were, and if inheritance has anything to do with it, I ought to be for my father could hold his own even in the west in those early days when my uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, had a ranch in the Dakotas. These things do not however, go by inheritance and my opportunities for shooting have been few and far between, but if the necessity arose, I do know how to use a pistol.

When we got out at Perry, Oklahoma, yesterday there was quite a crowd there to greet us and in practically every town that we came through on the drive to Alva people came out to wave their welcome. This always surprises me for to this day it is hard for me to remember that the wife of the President rates any particular attention, but I know it means a kindly feeling towards my husband and am extremely grateful for the welcome which has been accorded me everywhere.

Here in this little hotel I have a feeling that I am the guest of the manager and his wife, both very young people. They have done everything possible to make us comfortable and though it is a day when three speeches, a lunch and dedication ceremonies for a new building seem a pretty heavy schedule, I realize that everything which can be done to make it easy will be done.

As we went out this morning to get into the car with Mrs. John Doolin, the State President of the Federation of Women's Clubs, who is our hostess, a man shook hands with me and to my surprise kissed my hand. When I came back from the morning speech he asked for an autograph and said: "I wonder why when I think of you people it makes the tears come to my eyes." I know that this feeling has nothing to do with me personally, but it shows what the people of this nation have suffered and why they look upon those in high government office who have honestly tried to be of service in solving their problems, with deep emotion.

One man, however, was bound that I should not carry away the impression that everyone in this state was for us, so he leaned into the car to shake hands with me yesterday and announced: "You just tell your husband there are a few Republicans left out here," which is a healthy sign!

E.R.
TMsd 12 March 1937, AERP, FDRL