AUGUST 5, 1946
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Some of the papers in the Maine area made a good deal of the fact that, on my trip up to Campobello Island, I could not stay overnight at a hotel in Portland because I had Fala with me. Since it was a hotel rule, the clerk was quite right to stick to it and I had no complaint. I did not know of the rule because I had never stayed in that hotel before, and I would not have telegraphed for rooms there if I had not forgotten the name of the hotel where I usually stay. I remembered this hotel because my son had stayed there when he made a speech in Portland last spring.
The fault was mine, since I had not mentioned that I would have a dog with me. And it made no difference because, when I stopped for supper in Yarmouth, I asked if there were any cabins nearby that would take me in with a dog, and I found a place at once and had a very comfortable night.
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During my days in Campobello I was busy trying to decide with my son Elliott and his wife what we should do with the old cottages.
Last Thursday, we all attended the ceremonies at Welchpool, a village on the island, where a stone cairn with a bronze tablet has been erected in memory of my husband. Many of the Canadian government officials attended, and our Ambassador to Canada, Ray Atherton, made a very appropriate speech. People came from many nearby places. Dr. J. C. Webster, chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, spoke with great feeling, as did Lieut. Governor D. L. MacLaren, whose son had spent some time at Warm Springs and had received a letter from my husband when he was stricken with polio.
The head of the board of trade on the island, Mr. John Calder, spoke of my husband's early association with and love for the island. I think, however, that he attributed to my husband more personal choice in his first association with the island than he really had, since his parents first brought him there in the second summer of his life!
When I mentioned this to my son, he remarked, "But you have entirely forgotten how precocious Father was! You know he always told us he could remember Aunt Kassie's wedding, which he attended in his nurse's arms at the age of four or six months!" So perhaps Mr. Calder was right and my husband did express a desire to return to Campobello after that first visit when he was about a year and a half old!
There is no question that, during all his childhood and youth, he loved the free life there, the sailing, the fishing and the walking through the woods and over the rocks.
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On two of the days I was there, we spent several hours picnicking—one day on Penguin Island with Mr. and Mrs. Bernard and their two fine boys, and the other day making the trip up to St. Andrews and eating our lunch on the boat. We found that our two small boys enjoyed being on the water as much as we did. My son and his family had had one day of deep-sea fishing before I arrived, and both the boys caught big fish and proved to be good sailors, rather to the native fishermen's surprise.
One feels very far away on that remote island, and some things have happened in the world which I did not read about until my return here last night. Comment must wait until tomorrow, however!