My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—From the personal standpoint, this last week has been a sad one for us. The papers carried the news item yesterday that my young first cousin, William Forbes Morgan, Junior, had died on a transport on the way back from the Philippines. His mother, my mother's sister, was very sweet to me when I was a little girl, living with my grandmother, and the two lovely, charming young aunts, "Pussie" and Maude Hall, were still at home. "Pussie" married W. Forbes Morgan and had three children. She died tragically with her two little girls when they were still quite young. Their father and young Forbes lived on, but the shadow of the tragedy always seemed to hang over young Forbes, even after he had married his charming and sweet young wife and had a little girl of his own, who was named Barbara after one of his sisters.

When the war came he could not rest until he got into service, even though he was not in the age brackets to be drafted in the early group. Later, he could not be content until he got overseas. But the climate in the Philippines sent him to the hospital several times, and he died of a thrombosis and was buried at sea on October 8th. He never saw his baby son, who was born last August; but he knew of his safe arrival and wrote with great enthusiasm of coming home to see him, now the war had ended. He hoped to return and live with his wife and children at the farm in Chatham, N. Y., which his wife had kept going during his absence at the cost of much effort and sacrifice on her part of comfort and pleasure.

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I think perhaps one is less prepared for these tragedies now that the war is over, and they are almost harder to bear. While the war was still being fought, we approached every telegram with a sinking of the heart. But in this case, his young wife looked for his landing in this country in a week or two, and so the shock was very great. She came down from Chatham when she received the news, in the early part of last week, to be with us in New York City.

Just now, for her, the world seems a bleak place indeed, and I have thought of the many people who must have had to bear this same news since the typhoon raged around Okinawa. I do not know why sorrow, when it comes to the young, always seems to me more tragic than when it comes to those of us of maturer years. Perhaps it is really more tragic, because there is less experience there to teach us that somehow roses do bloom again out of the ashes of our grief. All of nature round about us dies and lives again, and that in itself should give to all of us the sense of continuity which we need to tide us over the moments of agony when the companionless years stretching ahead seem so endless. Nothing, however, brings consolation to the young; and one can only hope that when people are fortunate enough to live in the country, the healing touch of nature will sooner or later bring them some measure of solace.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL