If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

March 1955

 

Do you observe any royal formalities when people like Queen Juliana or the Queen Mother Elizabeth visit you at Hyde Park? Do you curtsy to the Queen Mother when you greet her?

Of course one always observes some formalities with royalty. For instance, a list of the guests is submitted before royalty comes to your house, and you extend such courtesies as allowing royalty to precede you, not sitting down until they sit down, allowing them to make the move to leave and so on.

I don't curtsy to royalty because while we were in the White House my husband never liked the idea of having an American, the wife of the head of the U.S. Government, curtsy. Since I had established the custom of not curtsying, I think it would be peculiar for me to begin doing so now!

 

I read a while ago that Albert Einstein said if he had his life to live over again he'd be a plumber in order to have some freedom. Do you feel that his despair about individual freedom in this country is really justified?

I think that we as a people are not fighting hard enough for our individual freedom at the present time, but I feel certain that we will get out of this apathy and regain our faith in ourselves before long.

 

Are you in favor of rearming Germany? I personally think that the U.N. should forbid the rearming of any country that has been a troublemaker over and over again.

Yes, I favor German rearmament under proper limitations and surveillance and within the Western community.

 

What was your recipe for those famous White House scrambled eggs?

It is a very simple recipe: Melt a lump of butter in a chafing dish, break eggs one at a time, stirring all the time, seasoning with salt and pepper as you like. (My husband liked some cream poured in toward the end.) Keep stirring until they are the consistency that you like, and then put them on toast and serve at once.

 

You said recently that you find the Alsop brothers among the most reliable news columnists today. Does this mean that you agree with their recent attack on Admiral Strauss of the Atomic Energy Commission and their defense of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer?

I am not sufficiently well acquainted with Admiral Strauss and his work, and therefore cannot agree or disagree with any attack on him. When I say I find the Alsops "among the most reliable columnists" it doesn't mean I necessarily agree with everything they write. However, I should like to say I entirely agree with the Alsop brothers in their defense of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer.

 

How do you decide what charities to give to every year?

I give very small amounts to as many charities as possible which I feel are doing a good piece of work. I make larger donations to a few charities or organizations in which I take a special interest, or with which I am working. I also have a few charities to which I give because my mother-in-law or my husband had a particular interest in them.

 

I hear recently that there is an oversupply of Negro teachers in the South. In view of the undersupply of white teachers everywhere, I was wondering whether antisegregation might extend to teachers too? Do you have any opinion about this?

Naturally if antisegregation extends to pupils it will apply to teachers. We should look for qualified teachers regardless of race or religion. This same thing applies to the nursing profession. We should look for good nurses regardless of race or religion.

 

I am curious to know what kind of car you drive and how often you turn your car in for a new one? Do you usually get the same make?

I drive a small Studebaker, and I turn it in every year. I have been getting the same make for several years.

 

What do you think of West Point and Annapolis forbidding their students to debate the question of Red China's admission to the U.N.? I frankly can't see how this is any different from the way Communist and Fascist universities act.

I feel that this is a proper question for debate and I don't see why a military college such as Annapolis or West Point should not be permitted to debate the same type of question as is debated in other colleges.

 

How many wives of ex-Presidents are still living today, and which ones do you ever get together with?

Mrs. Coolidge, Mrs. Wilson, and Mrs. Truman. I have seen Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Truman this past year, but I have not had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Coolidge for a very long time.

 

In your opinion why has juvenile delinquency become so much worse in this country in the past years?

I would not be able to give you a definite reason, though I think a great many things have contributed to it—the war and its aftermath, automobiles, comics, newspapers, radio, television and the great tension and rapidity surrounding everyday life, which has made a less quiet place of the home. I must emphasize, however, that I don't feel prepared to give an answer to this question.

 

Do you subscribe to any foreign magazines or newspapers, and would you mind telling me what they are?

No, I don't subscribe to any foreign magazines. My husband's family for years subscribed to Punch, but we gave that up some years ago.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, March 1955

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

McCall's, volume 82, March 1955

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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