My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Monday—I had a letter the other day from a man in one of the displaced persons camps in our zone in Germany. He is a Latvian and he wrote a little story for what I take to be the camp paper.

It begins in this way: "The other day we were discussing emigration. I told my wife that so many countries think they have enough of their own people, and they do not want to have too many. At this instance my little girl lifted her tiny voice with a most awkward question, making emphasis on the I: 'Am I—too many?'

"Ten years ago when this little Latvian girl was born as a daughter of the secretary of the legation, there were roses sent by a Senator, and his Excellency the American Ambassador patted the shoulder of the proud father and lifted his glass for a second time, saying something very cheerful and very cordial and nice. No, she was not 'too many.' "

Thousands of children are asking that question in DP camps, and I wish we could give them an assuring answer.

* * *

For twenty-four hours over the weekend, three of my sons and their wives were actually all here together; also one 15-year-old grandson with a friend. We all dined with Elliott Saturday night, and for one evening it was almost as though we had gone back to the days when the boys used to come home and start arguments with their father.

I never tried to talk much because he was well able to take care of himself. He led them on, and then, with a twinkle in his eye, demolished their arguments with facts which, for the most part they had never even heard of! Now here we were again, all of us arguing passionately on ideas, all of us trying to talk at once, even the wives becoming so interested that they could not help but join in!

I wonder what it is that makes some people able to argue a whole evening on such subjects as socialized medicine, inheritance taxes, and what one's obligations are to the future under certain situations, instead of worrying about more tangible things like a new car or a new fur coat. To me, as the older member of the family, it is interesting to watch the development, the changes in points of view, and the better reasoning power in the various younger members. We separated after 11 o'clock so stimulated by each other's company that I doubt if any of us went to sleep for hours.

* * *

Sunday morning we paid a visit very early to the old house and grounds, then stopped to see Mrs. J. R. Roosevelt, but she was not ready to see us so we had to go again after church. My boys are here so seldom that I always feel they must see their older relatives. It was a pure coincidence but Sunday was the anniversary of my mother-in-law's death in 1941, and to the children she has always been a very vivid personality. She adored them and they in turn had a very deep devotion to her.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL