My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—A letter from my husband this morning reports a delightful fishing expedition and the newspapers had some photographs of a very good sized fish being hauled over the side of his boat. Fishing seems to be such good sport, I wish that I could enjoy it. I suppose one really should start doing all these things early in life and then the taste would grow! I watched my grandson, Curtis, going off to dig clams the other afternoon and when he returned he brought us back not only clams but several unattractive looking little fish, which seemed to fill him with joy at possessing. They were transferred to the gold fish pond in the garden. I wondered if he would ever find them again and I felt quite sure I would never want to see them, but that was not his point of view!

I was interested to have the conductor on the train say to me today: "You've been a long ways, all the way to Seattle and back," for I already felt as though I had never been away, so quickly does one slide back into the usual groove of one's occupations. I hated to leave the quiet, peaceful, flowering country today but I look forward to several pleasantly busy days in New York City before returning to Washington. As usual I hope to be there before my husband gets home. I cannot get over the feeling, no matter how perfectly running everything is, that it is well to pick up the threads before the gentlemen of the household arrive.

I was reading this morning an article by Dorothy Thompson addressed to the girls who are graduating from school and college this June and one line struck me particularly. She says "You cannot always be a giver." I think that should be emphasized to all young people. You must of course, give to the extent of your ability but there is an art also in receiving. In the ability to receive gracefully there is often hidden a gift as well, for a gift is never its own fulfillment it must be completed by the appreciation of the one who receives it. It is only through appreciation and gratitude that many of us can become givers. Even the least of us can give a sense of self-confidence and joy by true appreciation of a gift.

There can, however, never be real giving and joyful receiving except between people who care for each other. This rule holds good even in gifts we receive from individuals whom we do not know personally but the products of whose talents we enjoy. We must care for the music or the art or the drama or the literature that we receive and appreciate, otherwise it will be so much meaningless chatter. We must care for the things which we buy for our houses, otherwise they will always be so much wood or glass or china, never the possessions which make a home different from a house. There must be love between people who give each other gifts of any kind, material or otherwise, and there must be love in our gratitude as we face our surrounding world, or the gifts we give and those we receive will be as meaningless and out of place as the weeds in our garden.

E.R.
TMsd 10 May 1937, AERP, FDRL