My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—The Prison Association Lunch in Philadelphia yesterday was to me a most interesting experience. The subject assigned to me was "What the community expects of its institutions for the care of delinquent women and children." On the way up from Washington by train in the morning, however, I had an opportunity to see a letter by a very well informed and able magazine editor, written to one of the heads of these institutions. As I read I realized that my real subject should be "What these institutions might well expect from their communities." The speaker preceding me on the program was Justice Justine Wise Pollier of the Domestic Relations Court in New York City, and she brought out very clearly how the problems in her Court were the result of the conditions in the community and those conditions were, of course, the responsibility of the individual citizens of that community. Having once seen how closely related were the community conditions with the problems of the courts in general, it is easy enough to see how closely related are the institutions which receive the individuals sentenced in these courts. The letter from the editor which I read, showed that he had little or no knowledge of the subject which he was planning to have handled with the best intentions in the world, and so I felt that it might be well if we could start a slogan "Improve your community by knowing real facts about it" and for the newspapers and magazines particularly I wish we could have a slogan "Do not write good stories based on imagination, write good stories based on facts"—for in this case truth is more interesting than fiction! When the lunch meeting was over I went on to Atlantic City and after speaking there was driven back to Philadelphia and took a late train into New York, reaching my apartment about 1:30 a.m.

I had been in only a few minutes when the telephone rang. I was a trible surprised for it seemed a late hour for any one to be calling me, but on taking off the receiver my brother's voice greeted me with "I heard you come in and I just thought I would find out if you are alright." I assured him that we were quite accustomed to getting about safely, even in the middle of the night, and he agreed to be in for breakfast by 8:30. We are both on our way to Hyde Park, but he is only going to stay an hour or so, so I am driving my own car up and he is going up in his which is not a very sociable arrangement.

I am beginning to understand even better the lure of Atlantic City. As we ate our dinner last night I opened the window just to hear the sound of the waves rolling in on the beach. Of course, the night I spent there earlier in the autumn was a clear moonlight night, picturesque and romantic, while last night it was cloudy and rainy, but as I looked down the boardwalk there was charm in the gleam of the lights on the wet pavement and I was sorry that I could not stay longer and wake perhaps to sunshine dancing on the ever moving waves.

E.R.
TMsd 14 October 1937, AERP, FDRL