My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Sunday—I must go back a little and tell you about the Strawberry Festival in Wallace. They arranged every year an exhibition in a big warehouse, the principal show being from The Coastal Plain Agricultural Station. The Home Demonstration Clubs had a very fine exhibit too, and the WPA workrooms showed all the different kinds of things that the women were making. In addition, there was an hour of speechifying. On the stand were the Governor and Senator Reynolds, Congressman Barden, the Mayor and many other notables from all over North Carolina. I was struck by the good looks of the men and women in the crowd. This is a part of our country where Anglo-Saxon stock predominates, therefore, fair hair and fair complexions are in evidence.

The girls are very pretty and do not seem to me to need to accentuate their looks by any very startling use of cosmetics. But I was amused to notice on the fingers of some of the very young girls, very deep red nail polish. It was quite evident that even the younger ones were living up to the tradition of the southern belle!

When I suggested to a group of Home Economics students who were brought over from a nearby camp that they were studying something which might be helpful in obtaining employment, I was promptly told that most of them expected to get married! I added at once that Home Economics was also useful in learning how to keep house and I was inwardly amused at the southern gentleman's spirit which still insists that the first consideration of woman is finding a husband.

After the Festival exercises there was a reception by the Women's Club, and then a buffet supper in the garden before we took the train for Washington.

Back in Washington yesterday, I had the pleasure of welcoming here two of my young cousins, Mrs. Elizabeth Rathbone and Mrs. Forest Henderson with their children. Colonel Howe's grandson, little Robert Baker, went for a ride with me and a swim during the morning. Children are the nicest guests for you always know when they are having a good time, they never make believe!

In the evening we had a movie — "Parnell," which I fear is not entirely accurate from the historical point of view, though it is a very charming picture. I doubt if Mr. Clark Gable looks as Parnell looked, and Kitty O'Shea is more appealing in the picture than she was as a character in real life, I fear. There is one line that has great wisdom in it. When Parnell is making his last plea to the members of his Party, he says: in substance: "When you choose a leader, follow him as a man, not as a god!" Many a time in history has this tendency of human beings to worship led them to keen disappointment when the object of their worship proved after all to be but a normal human being!

E.R.
TMsd 13 June 1937, AERP, FDRL