My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—I missed the newspaper notices, on September 1, telling of the death of Dr. E. H. Bennett at the age of 96. Dr. Bennett lived at Lubec, Maine, a small town separated from the island of Campobello by a very short distance of swiftly running water. The "Narrows," as it is called, can be crossed in a rowboat, but you must know how to cross it or you will not find yourself landing where you expected to land. Dr. Bennett knew how to cross it in all weathers. He knew the people who lived on Lonely Island, on the poor farms, and in the little villages all around him, for he practiced medicine in that area for 66 years.

Born in New Brunswick, Canada, he became an American citizen and was graduated from the Jefferson Medical School, Philadelphia, in 1876. Many a time he went back to Johns Hopkins during the winter months to keep himself up to date. In 1937 he was given the annual award of the Maine Medical Society for "outstanding service as a doctor."

Dr. Bennett was a very great person. There is a slight discrepancy in the newspaper obituaries, for instead of bringing John into the world in March, 1916, he looked after me in August, 1914, when Franklin, Jr. was born in Campobello. He had come over many times before that, however, to help me with some of the children's minor ailments, and once when my brother and his friends tried to climb a rock named "The Friar" and fell some distance to the stony beach below. Dr. Bennett cared for them and housed them overnight.

We had few serious illnesses until my husband was stricken with poliomylitis. Dr. Bennett travelled back with us to New York City, and I have never gone to Campobello since, even for a few days, without stopping to see him. I looked upon him as a friend as well as a doctor, and I had the greatest admiration for him. He was calm and philosophical. He lived with people who did not make a fuss about little things. He had been in many a home where one did the best one could with what one had at hand, and he had little patience with anything that was not real, sincere and courageous. His son is following in his footsteps.

Dr. D. F. Bennett has a wonderful heritage, for respect and love followed his father all the days of his life. He cared for my husband's mother the last summer that she was at Campobello, and she had excellent care. If we are fortunate to reside again for any length of time on that beautiful island of Campobello, which I have always loved, I will look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Dr. D. F. Bennett and reminiscing about the virtues of his father.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL