My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The weather up here has a tang of autumn in it, and it makes me quite unhappy. I ought to be deeply grateful that we are not suffering from the heat. Instead of that when we lit a fire and sat in front of it to work all last evening, I kept thinking "before we know it, autumn will really be here and the summer will be over." I love an open fire, however, and even at the end of July I had to acknowledge that it is a nice cozy feeling to sit curled up on a sofa and look into the leaping flames.

During lunch yesterday I began to think that the peace and quiet of the country was something which we talked about, but which really didn't exist. Mrs. Scheider had to get up three times to answer the telephone, and we are supposed to have a private number! Each time it was some problem which required us to try and do something about it. Then just as we were getting up from table, they said two ladies wished to see me, and that proved to be the problem of a youngster who wants to go to work without adequate preparation.

In our neighborhood today, employment has picked up so much that for the skilled workers or the man with a trade, there seems to be plenty of occupation. For the man who is just a day laborer who has nothing to sell but his strength and a willingness to work eight hours, there is still nothing but uncertainty, uninteresting jobs with nothing better in the future. We must get across to the youngsters of eighteen that this is no temporary condition, but will always be the case in a more complicated world. It is not only important to acquire a skill, but to have the education and the training which allows you, if one skill proves to be unprofitable, to acquire another one. That is the advantage of general training for both mind and hands. It seems to me that there is something wrong in our schools when we do not succeed by the time a boy or a girl is nearly eighteen in getting this across to them.

Out of my window this morning I can look over a big piece of swamp land, which at the moment is becoming more beautiful every day, as the purple weed which flourishes there comes into bloom. Some of the people around here call it "fire-weed," others "loosestrife." The other day in New England I heard it called by another name. I have been meaning for weeks to get my book on wild flowers and look it up, but no matter what its name, every time I look out of my window, or drive down the lane past the swamp, and my eyes rest on the riot of color, something within me is satisfied.

My bunnies are growing larger but so tame that they sit right in the middle of the road and look at the motor even when I honk my horn at them, and the horses create no fear in their breasts at all. The only time they run is when the police dog dashes after them, then they skitter away into the bushes and he has never been able to catch one yet, but hope springs eternal in his breast and he tries again each day.

E.R.
TMsd 28 July 1937, AERP, FDRL