DECEMBER 2, 1946
HYDE PARK, Sunday—For the last few days, people have been coming up to me most solicitously and asking about my health. I couldn't imagine what had happened; but I felt rather flattered because I thought they had noticed what a heavy schedule we were all carrying in our U.N. work and that they thought an old lady of 62 was doing rather well with it.
Then some kind friends enlightened me. They said that a well-known commentator stated in a recent broadcast that my friends were very much worried because I was having a nervous breakdown. In addition, the gossip in Washington, that city of many rumors, had been that 1—I was having a nervous breakdown; 2—I was dying of cancer; and 3—I was about to get married!
Somehow or other, these things do not go very well together; and though I realize that my age might give rise to the first two, it certainly should preclude the last. It cannot be that people are not aware of my age, for year by year, while I was in the White House, it was broadcast to the four ends of the earth, and no matter how much I might have wished to hide it, it would have been impossible.
My husband and I used to joke about it, because he had a very charming aunt who, up to the day of her death, when she had reached the fairly good age of 90-odd, would still not acknowledge her age. She found it difficult to get up from her chair, but once on her feet she had the slim figure of a young woman and was as straight as an arrow. Walking behind her, you would never have guessed how many years of education she had rolled up on this earth.
With every year that I live, one thing becomes clearer—and that is, that you must not believe everything you hear, even when you hear it with your own ears, nor consider true everything you see in print. It might be convenient for a great many people if I did retire from active participation in many fields of work. Heaven knows, the day may be close at hand when that may be essential. But as long as I live, I hope that what little wisdom I have acquired in the world may be of value to young people, many of whom are going to have the thrilling experience of trying to keep their nation going forward instead of backward in the years to come.
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I was delighted to hear that a group of young Democrats had come together in New York City the other night and were moving to organize a progressive Democratic group in this state. At this same meeting there were young men from other states who planned to do likewise in their home states. These young men can prove a spur to the party leaders; and the leaders may find them very useful, for they will be able to say what really interests youth today and where the younger generation really wants to go in the coming years. The late twenties and early thirties are the years when men and women begin to shape the purposes for which their lives will be lived in personal, business and civic affairs. It is important, therefore, that they choose well the paths along which their energies are to be expended.