My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—The Girl Scout dinner in Fall River the other evening gave me a great deal of pleasure, because the girls themselves seemed to enjoy it so much. They sang their songs with gusto, and the Hallowe'en decorations gave a most festive appearance. It was citizenship night in this Girl Scout Week, which each day commemorates one of the activities that scouting stresses. I think it is interesting to note how all the other activities gather together ultimately to serve the role of citizenship, which is, after all, the basic role each one of us plays when we come to the age of responsibility.

On the personal side, I was very glad of the opportunity to see Mrs. Louis McHenry Howe, who told me with pride and pleasure of her trip to the Kaiser shipyards in Oregon, where she christened one of the ships in memory of her husband. She enjoyed every moment of this trip, and I don't think I have ever known a better traveler. Since she was in the Northwest for the first time, she decided to find out all she could about one of the Northwest's great products—the salmon. So, having a little time to spare, she visited Bonneville Dam, and saw the salmon climbing their ladder. She saw the Indians spearing them. She saw the cannery and then she ate the salmon—canned and fresh, so that all there is to know about salmon, she now knows! In all of my trips to that part of our country, I have never been so thorough.

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Her daughter, Mrs. Robert Baker, her grandson, Robert Baker and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Hartley Howe, drove me to Boston that night, which I spent comfortably at the Statler Hotel. My old friend, Mrs. T. Jefferson Newbold, came to see me early in the morning, and then I drove with Dr. Miriam Van Waters' daughter to the woman's prison at Framingham. I think this institution shows in the most conclusive way what the soul and spirit of an individual can mean in an institution. They need new buildings and, under the new commissioner, they hope to get some of them. But, at best, the shell of a prison is still a gloomy building: human freedom is a precious thing, and you cannot take it away from people and not feel the result.

Yet, somehow, Dr. Van Waters has put into the people there something which is hard to describe. Perhaps it is faith and hope, which are rooted in her own soul. I doubt if Dr. Van Waters believes there is any human being without some divine spark, and that belief in itself is the beginning of salvation.

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In the afternoon I attended the Massachusetts Independent Voters Association's tea, where I shook hands with some 500 people, and then went straight to the National Citizens Political Action dinner. If these dinners bring about as much political action as they seem to create enthusiasm at the dinners themselves, I think we are awakening a sense of participation in government which should be extremely valuable. Senator Toby made a fine speech. Governor Tobin brought a thoughtful and serious greeting to the gathering; and he was most kind to me, which I deeply appreciated.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL