My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Quite a number of the family went to the 11 p.m. church service on Christmas Eve. As I watched some of the boys in uniform, I knew that many of them had come back from far distant places to share this Christmas time with their families, and I thought how very fortunate I had been. Through the many years of our married life, I do not remember a Christmas when my husband was not home. Even the year he had infantile paralysis he was back from the hospital in time to share in the Christmas festivities. When the children were small, it was rare indeed that the whole family was not able to be together on that day.

I remember one memorable occasion when in the late afternoon on Christmas Day, after the parties were over, I discovered that James had German measles. We had had some rather important guests for Christmas lunch and the tree in the afternoon. Among them were the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Grey, and Sir William Tyrell, his chief advisor. I telephoned them at once and they reassured me they did not think they would catch any children's diseases, though they confessed that neither of them remembered having this particular form of measles. The name was promptly changed because we were at war with Germany then.

I think it is probably rather rare that any family can look back over so many years, with the children grown and married and with homes of their own, and find that the whole family was always together at this Christmas celebration. Perhaps that is why Christmas has always meant a great deal to us and we have included people we loved, or those whom we liked, if they were far away from home on this day.

Even during the war I think we have been very fortunate. We have two sons in the navy. One of them, until just a short time ago serving almost entirely in the North and South Atlantic, has every now and then come into port. The other one was here last year before his ship went out, so those two boys happened to be home last year at Christmas time. This year they are far away in the Pacific, and, like all others in the Pacific, not likely to be home for some time.

However, as if to accentuate our sense of gratitude this year, our son-in-law and other son who have been in the European area were both at home for a short time. Our eldest son has been almost continuously in the Pacific except for two sick leaves. But he was out of the fighting area temporarily during this Christmas season also, and we could all say prayers of gratitude on Christmas night, as well as prayers of supplication for all those in danger on sea, land and in the air.

I am always thankful for every glimpse, no matter how short, of any of our own boys, or of the other boys who are friends of ours and who drop in for a few days when they get a short time out of fighting areas. I try to remember always what an old friend of my grandmother's used to say: "Enjoy every minute you have with those you love, my dear, for no one can take joy that is past away from you. It will be there in your heart to live on when the dark days come."

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL