DECEMBER 5, 1956
NEW YORK—I received a most amusing postcard the other morning. Unfortunately, it was not signed in a readable manner so I cannot answer it privately. But it comes from Mobile, Ala., and says: "Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: You have not answered my question, the amount of Negro blood you have in your veins, if any."
I am afraid none of us know how much nor what kind of blood we have in our veins, since chemically it is all the same. And most of us cannot trace our ancestry more than a few generations.
As far as I know, I have no Negro blood, but, of course, I do have some Southern blood in my veins, for my Grandmother Roosevelt came from Georgia.
On Saturday night I had the great pleasure of attending the opening performance of "Candide," a comic operetta based on Voltaire's satire.
The book is by Lillian Hellman, which accounts for the very clever lines. The musical score is by Leonard Bernstein, the lyrics by Richard Wilbur, John La Touche and Dorothy Parker.
On the whole, it was a very pleasant evening, but I do not think that it will grip the heart in the way some other more recent plays have done. It will certainly, however, give anyone a very pleasant evening, and I was most grateful for the opportunity to be one of those to attend the opening night's performance.
I hope that in the new Congress next year one of the first things to come up for consideration will be the question of schools.
It seems to me absolutely essential that we do something, and do it quickly, about the building of more schools and the improvement of the quality of our teachers. This can only be done by offering better opportunities to our teachers, both in salaries and teaching conditions.
Many people feel that a teacher has an easy life because she has long vacations. They do not realize that a teacher must give out to her pupils day in and day out. It is not a question of going home and looking over her papers; it is a question of keeping constantly fresh and able to approach subjects that she teaches in a new and interesting way.
The summer months, for a teacher, are used to take in added knowledge. They are not months of complete freedom. They are months of improvement so the teacher can start the new year with a fresh supply of knowledge to give out to the children under her care.
The preparation of a teacher requires an understanding of how you go on learning year by year and for this a really good training is necessary.
I think we should think seriously of how we may improve the colleges in which our young people are prepared for the most rewarding but also the most arduous task in our daily lives—helping children become good citizens in a democracy.