My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Sunday—I have received a great number of Christmas cards and messages and I should like to thank the many kind people who have remembered me this Christmas. I know that they have done so feeling that this would be a sad and lonely time for me, and I am grateful for their thought. It would be impossible to thank each person with an individual note, as I should like to do, but I hope that many of them read this column and will take these few lines as a personal acknowledgement of what I think shows the great heart of the people of this country. Christmas is a joyous time and a busy one, particularly where there are children, and that so many should have taken time out to send me a word of greeting makes me deeply appreciate the loyalty of people to my husband's memory and their kindly feeling toward me.

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On Thursday I went to the headquarters of the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief to accept the honorary chairmanship of that committee. I have been particularly touched by the stories of the want and suffering among the children of that country. It seems to me that this rather small population became a unit in the Allied war against Fascism. Women and children were included as part of the fighting forces. Now there are many children without parents, and the casualties among them from privation and starvation are somewhere around 80 percent.

Two children brought me samples of the kind of food which we hope will pour in to be sent to the children of Yugoslavia. One of them, a little boy who might have been six years old, looked at me with solemn and sad eyes, so I asked him where he came from. Without a smile, he answered: "I am a Filipino guerilla." I imagine there are many similar sad-eyed and solemn children in Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia and many other countries where the horrors of war have born as heavily on the children as upon their elders.

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I recently took some friends to see the play, "Therese," which is acted by quite a distinguished cast. Dame May Whitty, at the age of 80, gives a remarkable performance. I am afraid, however, that this type of play, based on Emile Zola's psychological horror, has ceased to have real interest for me. That may be equivalent to saying that I am getting old and don't really like to be kept tense and stirred up by more or less unreal situations. Perhaps, as one lives through a war and its aftermath, one has so many real situations to meet that one does not need to be stirred up by fictitious ones.

The other evening I also went to the opening of the American Negro Theatre, which has found a home on the second floor at 15 West 126th Street. They gave Samuel J. Kootz' "Home Is the Hunter," and they expect to continue their performances every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Of the four people in the cast, I thought Clarice Taylor, who played the heroine, did the most natural piece of acting. The play dealt with a contemporary subject, the difficulty between labor and management, and was therefore interesting, but I thought it unfortunate that the playwright had cast a returning soldier as the Fascist. I hope this theatre will give an outlet to Negro talent and that many people will take an interest in its ultimate development.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL