My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LONDON, Friday—The last few days have been so filled with a variety of experiences that it is difficult to tell you about them. In the first place, I should explain that I find myself this evening in England because, a short time ago, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, realized that we in the United States were just beginning to go through some of the experiences which the British people have undergone during the last several years. Her Majesty felt that it might be valuable for me to see with my own eyes the work of the women in Great Britain, and so she wrote and asked whether I would care to come here.

I was assured that I would be given full freedom to see everything in the way I felt would be most useful to me. I realized at once that this also would give me an opportunity to see our armed forces, which have been sent to this country in such great numbers. I hope very much that what I see may mean something to the mothers, wives and sweethearts of our men who are now stationed here.

I hope, too, that the opportunity afforded to see the work which the women are doing in Great Britain may also be of use no only for our women at hime, but also to the children. Since it is family life which changes when women go to work, children have a share of the sacrifice which is made, and their interests deserve consideration.

Now you have the background and the reason for this visit. There was some delay in my departure. The trip, across what has now become a very small pond indeed, was as comfortable and as delightful as possible.

No one knew I was actually arriving, in spite of newspaper rumors. Since Miss Thompson and I traveled under very unimaginative names and our bags looked like everyone else's, there was no easy method of identifying us. But, as I stepped out of the plane, I head someone say, "Why, there is Mrs. Roosevelt!"

The countryside looks as green and as calm as ever, but every now and then in the city you come upon a heap of ruins and someone casually says, "A bomb fell there." Our ambassador, Mr. Winant, met me at the airport and on the train trip sketched for me the things which had been planned for the next few days. I shall, of course, do the more formal things that must be done first. The King and Queen met me at the station, together with a number of officials, both British and American. We were then whisked away from the station very quickly.

At tea I felt as though I had dropped off a number of years and was sitting again in England around the tea table of my school days with some friends in very homelife environment. In a short time I am going to search for my one and only evening dress. Forty-four pounds of luggage does not give much room for clothes, but I am assured that dinner tonight will be very informal.

PNews, SHJ, 24 October 1942