My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—When I arrived in London by plane from Paris, I was greeted with a request for an immediate radio interview. But I made the radio people wait so that I might greet the Duchess of Kent, who had just arrived at the airport on her way to Germany.

With the duchess was her daughter and young son. The latter was my husband's godchild and I had not seen him since he was a very small boy. It was during the war and my husband asked me to bring to the boy in England a crate of oranges.

In those days, oranges were precious fruit and a child, no matter what his status, rejoiced over eating one.

Rationing has ended in Britain, as it has in Israel, but it remained in effect long enough so that the people speak of being free of it with a kind of relief that we, who thrust it aside so quickly, can hardly appreciate.

Sir Arthur Willert, an old friend of myself and my husband, lunched with us on our first day in London, and since the Queen already had kindly invited my granddaughter and me to tea while there, I took Nina that afternoon to sign the guest books at both Buckingham Palace and at the Queen Mother's residence, though the Queen Mother was away in Scotland.

Signing of the guest book is a courtesy which, I think, is more pleasant than the practice of leaving cards, as is done at the White House. It is much easier for the secretary to go through the book to find out who is in London than it is to go through the mass of visiting cards that are left at the White House.

The rule at the White House, of course, is that anyone who leaves a visiting card is invited to a big tea party sometime during the winter season. In London, the signing of the guest book is more an act of courtesy performed out of great respect for the royal family.

On our London visit, we were given a special view of the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and visited the National Gallery. Everyone in our group except myself saw the changing of the Keys at the Tower of London and was thrilled by a special tour conducted by the Governor. Unfortunately, I was unable to be with them, since I was speaking for Youth Aliyah that evening.

I attended a book review luncheon, which was somewhat like those we have in this country, because the British edition of my book, "On My Own," has just been published in England.

In the weeks preceding my arrival, I had grown out of the habit of making speeches. But in London I found myself back in the harness with an interview on the British television's "Meet the Press," a speech at a luncheon, one for Youth Aliyah and another for the Women's Voluntary Service.

My only regret was that I did not have the opportunity of seeing Sir Winston Churchill. I was able to see Mrs. Churchill, but Mr. Churchill had just returned from vacation and our free time did not coincide.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL