If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

June 1951


If you had a chance now to talk to Stalin personally, do you think you could accomplish anything toward world peace?

I cannot imagine that Premier Stalin would have the slightest interest in talking to me personally, or that I would have the slightest influence on his thinking. He has never shown any interest in talking to anyone who did not have the power to commit his nation, and as I have no power of any kind I cannot see how I could have any influence with Mr. Stalin or help world peace in any way by a personal interview.


Do you plan to buy another Scotty to take Fala's place when he dies?

No, I do not plan to buy another Scotty to take Fala's place when he dies. Somehow dogs have their own personalities to me, just as people have, and you cannot replace one dog with another, any more than you can put a person in someone else's personal niche. I already have Tamas McFala, Fala's grandson, who has his own particular personality, and when Fala's time does come we probably will already have another puppy to keep Tamas company. Fala, however, seems very spry, and I am hoping he will live for some years to come.


My husband has come back from Korea with both legs paralyzed. He is so depressed about his future. Can you tell me how I can help him? What comforted your husband right after his paralysis?

My husband always felt that if he worked hard he could improve his condition, and I think your husband should realize that he has even more chance to improve. My husband knew, too, that even if he was not actually improving in the strength of his legs he could learn to handle himself better, and the more he learned to be independent and to do things he had felt he might never do again, the more self-confident he became and the more cheerful he was about his illness. I think you will find with your husband that each victory will mean a great deal in his mental attitude.


Do you believe in a life after death? If so, how do you envision it?

I do believe that life goes on after death, but I am not sure in what way, and I do not think that important. It would seem to me wasteful if nothing came of the efforts which we make here, and I cannot believe that this is true. But the exact way in which our efforts help, or go into the future, seems impossible to know, and perhaps, therefore, we should not spend too much time wondering about it.


Do you feel it worth while for a woman with children to work if she can't earn at least $5,000 a year?

No, I hardly think it would be worth while today for a woman to work and pay someone to take care of her children if she were earning less than $5,000 a year. She would want to get a very high type of person to be with the children, and that would take so much of her salary it would not be worth while. However, many women have to work to support their children even if they are neglected, though Social Security and state mothers' pensions make this less frequent today than in years past.


What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you find you need arch supports?

I wear any kind of shoes that I happen to buy, but I like low heels and plenty of room. I wear in my walking shoes some supports made for me under the direction of Dr. William DeLacey.


My son writes that he's not getting enough to eat in Korea. I've heard of other boys who write home that they are hungry all the time. How is this possible?

I have had one or two letters from other people stating they had heard from some of the men in Korea that food was short, and I have asked that these letters be investigated. I haven't had any report as yet. I can imagine a group might be cut off or in a very advanced position and food might run short. Our soldiers are accustomed to being very well fed, and shortage of food would be a real hardship.


What rules would you give us mothers for teen-agers who always want to watch TV?

I think, as in everything else, there must be some moderation in the time given to watching television. If there are special programs that teen-agers want to see, they should view them in their free time and not take time set aside for homework or some other more or less educational purpose. Many of my friends tell me that about an hour of television a day is all that they allow their teen-age youngsters.

When did you first start writing for newspapers and magazines? Did you have any particular models among the columnists when you started?

In the late 1920s. I cannot remember that I had a model columnist. I admired the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I had read widely as a young person, but I did not have any particular model.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, June 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | SNAC ]

McCall's, volume 78, June 1951

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
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