OCTOBER 13, 1954
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I am 70 today as I am writing this on Monday, October 11, though you probably will read it later. I feel that my birthday really began Sunday, the 10th, since at 3 p.m. all the little boys from Wiltwyck School, 100 of them, appeared at my Hyde Park cottage. I thought six or seven would come, as usually happens on my birthday, and I had prepared lemonade for that many. When I saw all of them tumbling out of the bus I decided we should have no lemonade and cake!
But I have wonderful people in my house, and, after the children had sung "Happy Birthday" and "Home on the Range" and one or two other songs, there appeared a table behind me for the children to put their presents on. They lined up in a long queue and gave me their little handmade cards and gifts. Weaving potholders and even small rugs is quite a hobby with them, and I now have enough for both the cottage at Hyde Park and the apartment in New York for some time! They also have learned to make all sorts of other novelties and I find my gifts were much appreciated by our own children!
By the time every one of the boys had handed me his gift, another table had appeared and though the cake was sliced very thin there was enough to go around! Somehow the lemonade and orange juice mix managed to hold out to fill a hundred cups and there was even a cup left over for each of our own children, who had been helping.
With a parting song the boys left and I realized that the train my son James was arriving on was practically at the station in Poughkeepsie, so I jumped into a car and went to meet him.
* * *
At intervals during the day my daughter-in-law, Mrs. John Roosevelt, and John were holding private conversations with Mr. and Mrs. Lash. My daughter-in-law had decided that the birthday dinner was to be in her house and 12 of us sat down to the most charmingly decorated table where each of us found a highly appropriate gift.
Back in the living room after dinner I was presented with two baskets, one of them labeled: "If you decide from 70 on to sit in a rocking chair and knit, here are the things you can use." Then the gathering proceeded to give me the tools and to tell me what one does if one sits at home and knits. The other basket said, "If you should still decide to go on being active, here are the tools and suggestions for what you should do."
We had an hilarious evening. The many mysterious consultations were explained. It leaves me free, nevertheless, to decide what my future shall be, and I think I shall do as I have always done, namely, decide nothing and do what seems to be indicated by circumstances.
* * *
Monday morning we all came down to New York and my real birthday was remembered by so many people that I am bewildered and overcome by the great kindnesses shown me. I could never thank everyone, so I want to say here in my column the warmest thanks to all who have remembered my birthday, and my deep appreciation for the kind messages that have come from so many whom I have not even known personally.