My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Sunday—I want again to thank the people who have continued to write me on the subject of Federal aid to education. Their letters are very valuable and we are making an analysis of them.

It is utterly impossible, however, for me to answer them individually. Indeed, it has been extremely difficult to get them read. But we have felt that it was essential to know the trend of public opinion on the subject of the type of Federal aid to education, and the use of tax funds for public and private schools, which the people want. I realize very well that as an individual I am completely unimportant, but this subject seems to mean a great deal to a great many people, and therefore it is important to know how the public feels.

* * *

When all of the New York papers put on their front pages a record of the weather, it is important news. I was brought up in an era when one was not supposed to notice temperatures. If it was hot, you were hot—and that was that. If it was cold and you were cold, that was that, and no complaints were allowed on such minor discomforts.

My grandchildren and three grandnephews spend most of their day in the water and seem to bear up well no matter what the temperature. When I was young there was some foolish apprehension as to the effect of bathing too long at a time. It doesn't seem to do anything harmful to the children of today, and they certainly seem more comfortable. Nowadays, too, we all dress more comfortably. I used to wear long black stockings and high-laced shoes. Today most of the children go barefoot. If they are really going to dress up, they put on sneakers.

Elliott bought cowboy boots for two of the small boys, aged five and seven, because they admired those worn by the children from Texas. In spite of the heat during the last two days, they have worn these boots incessantly. The youngest one, aged almost three, whom we thought too young to want cowboy boots, has insisted on wearing his rubber boots to show that he, too, had boots. Such is male vanity!

* * *

I am glad that Dr. Philip Jessup and his advisers are going to review our whole policy in the Far East. I don't think anyone in the country is especially happy about the situation in China or Japan.

This is no reflection upon either our military or diplomatic officers, since they have done the best they could in a situation which is well nigh impossible to cope with. How do you teach the Japanese democratic ways, particularly democratic thinking? You may force them to live according to the forms of democracy. But as soon as compulsion is removed, those forms will no longer be followed unless the reason for them is clearly understood in the minds and hearts of the people; and that seems still to be a long ways from achievement.

In China it seems essential that this divided country make peace within itself before any kind of agreement can be made with the world outside. Communists and Nationalists will have to learn to live together. Cooperation may perhaps seem impossible, but at least agreement should be reached on certain forms to be observed in different areas, and gradually understanding will develop.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL