JULY 20, 1939
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—We had a most interesting day yesterday. We arrived at Mrs. Charles Fayerweather's, at New Lebanon, N. Y., soon after 11:00 o'clock in the morning and enjoyed sitting on her porch and having lunch with her, after which she took us to the old Shaker village. I have seen these buildings in various stages of decay and to find them being rehabilitated in a most competent and loving fashion, was really a joy.
The two old Shaker sisters, Emma and Sadie Neale, still live in one of the old buildings. One of them is 90 and the other is 92, and they take a keen interest in the fact that their community is becoming an educational institution. These buildings have been taken over by Mr. Charles Lambert Heyniger and will be called the Darrow School, after the first settler in this valley.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Heyniger seem very well suited to the work which they have undertaken and are most delightful people. They have three children of their own, two of whom went about with us and seemed to take as much interest in the old furniture and old tools which had been found, as did their elders. Then we paid a visit to the old Shaker sisters whom I had last seen in Sharon Springs, N. Y., where one of them presented me with a bottle of water.
They had forgotten me, of course, but were as keenly interested in the fact that I was President Roosevelt's wife as any young girl would be. In answer to my question, the older one told me that she had not always lived in the house she was now in, but had once lived further up the hill. When, at the age of 12, they wanted her to go down and live in the valley, she had been very indignant and felt quite sure that her family could not get on without her. But she went to live in the valley, a distance certainly not more than a half mile away!
She has great respect for hand work and told me she remembered selling one of her Shaker capes to my mother-in-law. I told her I had one given me by my mother-in-law some thirty odd years ago. What extraordinary workmen these Shakers were! They felt they must show in their workmanship the kind of character and spirit which was theirs. So it is marvellous to see today the stone which they moved, the beams which they set, and the foundations and the framework of the buildings which stand as a monument not only to good workmanship, but to the character which made it possible.
We drove home through beautiful country, but I think the warmth and the sun made us both sleepy. I don't think I was a very talkative companion, but it was all I could do to stay awake and keep my car on the road.
I arrived safely, however, by 5:30, and found a message to come to New York City to meet some of my children.