My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Friday—At the County League of Women Voters meeting yesterday which Miss Cook, Mrs. J.R. Roosevelt and I attended, an incident occurred which to me seemed very touching.

We arrived at twelve o'clock, each of us bearing some offering towards the luncheon and everyone picked up a plate and filed by the table where food of every kind was set out. Then we chose a chair and sat down.

I was talking with a group of ladies when I saw an old lady very painfully get out of a car and with the aid of a cane walk up the short driveway and climb the rather steep hill to the house. I thought it remarkable that any one so lame should come to this meeting. The shabby car which had deposited her went on.

My hostess murmured an Italian name in my ear and the old lady was thrust into a chair in front of me. Holding my hand in both of here she murmured a stream of Italian words. I tried unsuccessfully to talk to her in English, but her face lit up when I spoke a few words in Italian. I still thought she was there for the meeting, moved over to speak to another group and was quite surprised to have her hobble over to me, shake me by the hand, say something about her rheumatism, turn around and get two people to help her climb laboriously down the steps and the hill. No car in sight. I inquired where she lived and was told up a little side road about a mile away. I realized it would be agony for her to walk that distance, so I asked her to wait while I got my car. With some difficulty I got her in and started for her home.

She talked Italian hard and I gathered that she lived with a son and his wife and several children; that hard as life was, it was easier than it had been, and she said a prayer for the President every night. That was why she had come to the meeting—just to tell me that she prayed for him!

Arrived at the house on a very bad road, I found four grown people, two of them very old, and six children, one only a baby. The oldest boy in high school and the pride of the family because of four prizes won this year and the possibility of a scholarship. They came from the Bronx a year ago, off relief and accepted for resettlement. They are running a small poultry farm, they are happy because the children are being educated and are healthier and they have enough to eat, in the "living is good," but the payments to the government hard are to meet. I talked a while and wondered if I could make them either with ten mouths to feed. I shall follow this family's fortunes with interest from now on.

As I was reading in bed last night I came upon the following: "The human race is divided into the proppers and the propped. The propped have an easier time, of course, but they do not live so deeply or so excitingly and they get bored." I put the book down and chuckled as I fell asleep.

E.R.
TMsd 6 August 1937, AERP, FDRL