The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Monday—I harked back to my childhood yesterday afternoon and picked a few quarts of raspberries! Raspberries are about the easiest things one can pick, no bending over unless you feel you must get special ones on the lowest branches. We are such creatures of habit, however, that everytime we do something a little bit different from our usual form of exercise, we discover that our training for the ordinary occupations of life is rather poor.

I can ride, I can swim and I can drive a car and never feel it, but I can go out in the sun and pick raspberries and in half an hour I begin to wonder how many hours I have been there!

I suppose this is why all of us, young and old, men and women, should do different kinds of work at different times, for unless we do we never know not only how long it takes, but just how it makes us feel!

I remember when our eldest boy was somewhere around sixteen years old, my husband told him he would like him to spend six weeks of his summer vacation doing some kind of manual work. He shipped him off to a place in Canada where they did the whole process from cutting down the trees to the final making of paper, so that he could have a variety of experience. The main thing was that he should understand what it meant to do a manual job for eight hours a day. Our son was somewhat reluctant to go and leave a pleasant summer vacation and couldn't see much point to it. Once on the job, he met some difficulties that we knew nothing about and had not planned for him, but they were just as valuable experience as any other part of the work. Later he told me once, that he considered that six weeks had been a really valuable part of his education.

Two summers ago, my husband was building a road in the back woods, the mosquitos and flies were very disagreeable, there were plenty of rocks and the mud was deep in spots. He invited his two youngest sons to become part of the working crew, just so they would know what it was to be on a job at eight a.m. and stay until four p.m., with only the lunch hour to rest in. They made good, and got on with the other men, but I think they discovered that it was a very different thing to be an athlete in college or a workman by the day. Their respect was enhanced for the exercise of throwing stones into a cart from the ground! It might not be as entertaining or as exciting, but it was even harder work than rowing a shell in a four mile race!

Varities of working experience are good for us all and if you ever feel like bragging about what good condition you are in, go out and join the hay makers for a while.

As I drive through a rather lonely road in the morning, I have been seeing the tiniest rabbits, they sit up and listen and as I come nearer and blow my horn, they run down the road ahead of me and finally scoot off into the underbrush. I am glad I have no little children with me, for I know I would have to try and tame those rabbits. They fascinate me, and no child could possibly see them and not want to bring them home!

The men are going to work in the field, only the early motorists are on the road, the horses are glad to be out, and the world is a lovely place at seven-thirty in the morning!


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 20, 1937

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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HTML version generated and published on May 3, 2022.

Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated July 19, 1937, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 19 July 1937, AERP, FDRL