If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

December 1955

 

Doesn't it seem to you that President Eisenhower has an awful lot more Secret Service men around him when he travels than your husband ever did? How did FDR feel about bodyguards?

I have absolutely no knowledge of whether President Eisenhower has more or less protection than my husband had. My husband accepted the fact that under the law he had to be guarded and that he had to have the Secret Service do this. He disliked it very much but, not being able to move easily or quickly, he began to feel gratitude, I think, for the care and help the Secret Service men always gave him. They protected him many times from the public eye when he might have been embarrassed had they not been so thoughtful.

 

Do you attend church regularly? What church?

I attend church very regularly in the country but not very regularly in New York City. In the country I go to St. James Church, Hyde Park. I am an Episcopalian, but when away from home I frequently go into churches of different faiths and denominations.

 

Does the family have to give consent when a famous man's portrait is put on a coin or postage stamp? I've often wondered also what effect it has on you to see your own husband's face every time you pick up a dime.

No, the family does not have to give consent. I don't see my husband's face every time I pick up a dime. There was an issue on which his likeness appears, but one does not look very carefully at dimes as a rule. I don't even notice half the time which issue a dime may be, and it has absolutely no effect on me.

 

I should enjoy knowing the following: What is your favorite kind of turkey dressing and what are the ingredients of your favorite salad?

I use Pepperidge Farm stuffing and I like giblet gravy and small sausages around my turkey. I like a variety of greens in a salad with cucumbers and a few tomatoes.

 

Could you tell me the name of that course in housekeeping you said you took once, and where you took it? I'd like to give a course like that to my granddaughter as a present, but I don't know any place where they teach them.

I took my course in cooking from a cook in her home. For a little while I attended a housekeeping course in one of the New York City colleges—I can't remember now which one. I am sure if you inquire in the Department of Home Economics in any of the women's colleges, they will be able to tell you what is available for your granddaughter.

 

Has anyone in your family ever been cremated? What are your personal feelings about cremation or burial?

No, no one that I know of in my family has ever been cremated. I have no feelings whatsoever on the subject, except that I would like my own funeral to be extremely simple and over as quickly as possible. I think cremation and burial should be according to the desires of the individual person concerned.

 

Do you smoke? If not, what is your opinion of women who do?

I don't smoke because I have never been able to accustom myself to the taste in my mouth. I see no reason why women who enjoy it should not smoke, but I have a feeling that smoking is one of the things which should be done with great moderation for reasons of health, and this holds true particularly where women are concerned.

 

Of all the royal personages you have met, whom did you hit it off with best?

I have remained on friendly terms with many of the royal personages who visited us. I think perhaps I have a closer, warmer feeling for Queen Juliana of the Netherlands because she came to us with her children. I was of course very fond of Princess Martha of Norway, who visited us with her children for long periods of time.

 

Looking back on it, Mrs. Roosevelt, would you say that the United States was morally justified in dropping the A-bomb on the Japanese people?

I feel quite sure that if I had been President Truman I would have made the same decision he made. I wish very much that as a nation we had never been placed in a position where such a choice had to be made, and I hope very much that never again will a weapon of this kind be used by any nation.

 

Do you feel that part of your husband's dislike of big business was because he failed in it himself?

My husband never attempted to go into big business. He never touched it in any way and so he could never have failed in it.

 

I have been told that the statue of FDR in London, England, has him standing. Were you consulted about this? Since most people remember him seated, don't you think it would be better to commemorate him that way?

Yes, I was consulted. The artist wished to do it that way, and, though Mr. Churchill felt it should have been a seated statue, the committee in charge liked the artist's conception and felt a standing statue would look better in Grosvenor Square. On the whole, I think this has proved true. It is a very impressive statue, and there is no reason why my husband should not be shown standing, since he very frequently did stand and many people must have seen him stand. There is a statue in Oslo of him seated, but I don't think it is any more impressive.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, December 1955

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

McCall's, volume 83, December 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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