My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

WASHINGTON, Sunday—Our dinner with the Vice-President and Mrs. Garner on Friday night was, as it always is, one of the most entertaining evenings of the whole year. Mr. Gene Buck provides the entertainers and he certainly chooses them well.

The mind reader was so remarkable that a number of people said they did not think they would like to have him around all the time. I picked out a private telephone number and two names which I thought no one in the room but I would think of, and he told me correctly all that I had written down. We are still chuckling over some stories told by a boy from Kentucky and, when it came to whistling, he was an artist of real talent. So was the Texas girl who played a guitar and sang songs. The others were equally good and the President and the Vice-President, both of whom are not overfond of late hours, managed to keep awake very cheerfully until nearly 1:00 o'clock.

The interesting thing in life down here is its contrasts. They appear in your daily contacts, your mail and your public and private life to such an extent that I sometimes feel anyone who lives in the White House must develop several kinds of personalities. In order to meet the different situations and attitudes of mind which, somehow or other, must be a part of the same individual every day, it is necessary to have different personalities.

An artist sent me a photograph of a portrait which he had painted of the President. In his letter, he stressed the fact that he painted it in an informal manner because he wished the portrait to be in someone's home where it would make the owner feel the President in a friendly, intimate mood— one which the artist had never seen.

Do all public servants live up to the different pictures people create of them? If so, we should begin to train them young, for it is going to require great versatility.

Of course, for the President these changes are endless, but even for the other members of the household there can be a certain variety. For instance, at teatime yesterday, there was a lady who wished to give the President some of her books. Since he was not able to receive them, she had to content herself with me.

Then there were some guests from Syracuse, N. Y., who harked back to the time when I was more concerned with my own state than I can be at present. Then there were about ten youngsters about sixteen years old, who had been here for a birthday party; three young men who had arrived from New York and, last but not least, my four-year-old granddaughter. Every woman plays many roles in a day, but here it is intensified.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL