MAY 19, 1947
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I returned home Friday afternoon to find my two young great-nephews being entertained by Miss Charl Ormond Williams, of the National Education Association. Three small boys, all under five, are staying with me at present. Their mother, Mrs. Edward P. Elliott, is my niece, and I marvel daily at the way in which she manages them. Each generation gets a different kind of bringing up, but I think the present one is being handled with more wisdom than I possessed as a young married woman!
When we drove off on Thursday morning, I never heard such bloodcurdling shrieks as came from the three-year old and the four-year old, who had never been left by their mother except when staying with their grandmother on the farm. On our return next day it was explained to us that "Mummy" had paid no attention to the kisses which were being thrown to her. I think it was fortunate that she did pay no attention, for otherwise I feel quite sure we never would have gotten away! All was serene, however, on our return. Miss Williams came up Friday to make final arrangements for the presentation of some of her most cherished possessions to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. She has spent many years with teachers and children, and was able to rise to the occasion when she found herself confronted by two friendly but demanding youngsters while she waited for her hostess to return.
All yesterday morning people seemed to "drop in," and we ended up with many more guests than we had really expected for lunch. Everything went well, however, because the party was put into such good humor by the delightful presentation ceremonies at 12 noon at the library. The things presented by Miss Williams recalled not only her years in the teaching profession, but also the fact that she had been the first woman vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee and had campaigned with my husband in 1920. Since that time, off and on, our paths have crossed and I have always had the greatest respect and admiration for her work. Now I have great gratitude for her generosity in presenting the group of things which she has already given. I also anticipate that some interesting letters will be presented later, dealing with education.
My husband had a great interest in education, and I think it is most fortunate that future historians will be able to find in the library a record of some of the interest in the educational field that came to him through Miss Williams. He often said he would like to start a school of his own up here, but I rather think he would have found the details of running it somewhat trying unless he had found a paragon to do the managing.
In rereading some of the letters my husband wrote while he was at the Groton School, as well as those written by my brother and my own boys, it seems to me that the frequent accidents and epidemics must make orderly academic progress very difficult. The choice of masters, too, is such a gamble. Sometimes they turn out to be good masters and popular with the boys. But frequently they are popular with the boys and poor masters, or good masters and so unpopular with the boys that their teaching is valueless. Half of the time we do not realize the many factors which enter into acquiring an education!