SEPTEMBER 10, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—In the last few weeks I have been much in and out of New York City, and I found myself rather frequently on the subways. It has warmed my heart to discover how many people would stop and speak to me as they left the train, often murmuring only: "We loved your husband."
I always like that because, like the elephant's child in Kipling's story, I have an insatiable curiosity about people in general. The glimpses one gets into people's lives from casual conversations are often very valuable in helping one to understand the general ideas and feelings of the country as a whole.
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One very nice letter came to me the other day from a gentleman who thought he had sat opposite me on a subway train, but evidently was not quite sure. So he wrote to find out. He is himself a Republican and says so, but he puts in this sentence: "Since my grandsons and my daughter are great admirers of our late President, I am inclined to believe that the knowledge that I sat for about a quarter of an hour opposite you would give them a sense of great satisfaction."
I certainly appreciated his magnanimity and wrote him that I had more than likely been on that subway train, since I was travelling quite frequently the route he mentioned.
Taxi drivers very often tell me of their experiences with "Roosevelt haters," but it never seems to have changed their own feelings in any way and they are, many of them, "pro-Roosevelt."
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Over the Labor Day weekend, the library at Hyde Park was visited by thousands of people and since the grave and the house are not yet open to the public, I could see little groups of people standing by the fence just looking at the hedge which surrounds the rose garden where my husband is buried.
In driving back from the Post Road through the woods to my cottage, one of those days, I picked up a man and his wife and little girls. They had come up from the station by taxi and been told that a bus would take them back to Poughkeepsie if they walked just a little way through the woods to route 9-G. It proved to be rather farther than they had expected and the little girl was being carried when I picked them up. I gathered, nevertheless, that in spite of weariness they were glad they had made the trip. I don't think they knew who I was, so they were not saying anything for my benefit. At least, that was the impression the friend with me got from the conversation.
I am convinced that the library here is going to fulfill a two-fold purpose. In time, when the books and papers are gathered and catalogued, it will be a Mecca for students of this period of history. But many, many people are going to get interest and pleasure and broaden their horizons generally by spending an hour or so just looking at the general collections.