My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—We had a most successful Christmas Party at Hyde Park yesterday afternoon. They seem to grow bigger every year, and this year we had one guest, at least, who really wanted to come for she came on an errand and then inquired if she might stay on! The children behaved very well and the Christmas Carols were sung with great spirit by everyone present. When it came to ice cream and cake, I thought I had so much cake that we could never eat it all, but we served more than a hundred people and when it was over I had no more ice cream and about a quarter of one layer cake left! I decided that next year I must count on more people and remember that children grow up and eat more and more. One little girl amused me a great deal, she kept running in and out and stopping in front of some older person holding out her hand and saying solemnly "Merry Christmas to you" and before the afternoon was over I think she had said her own personal "Merry Christmas" to every older person in the group.

My mother-in-law, with whom I spent half an hour after lunch, motored down to Newburgh to greet her sister, Mrs. Forbes, who had just arrived from France on her yearly visit. She is over eighty now, but continues her annual trips across the ocean and is still one of the most charming, intelligent and attrative women that I have ever known. I say a little prayer every now and then that I will be able to keep my interest in life and make as much of a contribution to the enjoyment of other people as she does in the course of the next ten years, let alone thirty!

With great reluctance I left the peace and quietness of the country this morning. It was a glorious day and I enjoyed looking out the window as we came down on the train. One gentleman from Rhinebeck stopped by my seat to give me a message for my husband, then a strange lady came and sat beside me. Having introduced herself, she asked about Dr. Cushing, whom she adores as he once saved her life. Doctors must accumulate grateful people everywhere, and I often wonder if they are surprised or disturbed when one pops up suddenly and says "ten years ago you saved my life" and they can't remember the patient's name. But perhaps they always do!

At twelve o'clock I visited the Harlem Community Art Center, at 290 Lenox Avenue, just below 125th Street, and I was deeply interested in this WPA Art Project. They have a Teachers Institute where teachers from all over the five boroughs of the City of New York can come to improve their artistic education. Of course, this Center is for the use of school children and 400 of them are already registered. The Gallery will have exhibitions which will change once a month, and I think we have here a most interesting addition to the cultural life of Harlem and the City in general.

TMsd 20 December 1937, AERP, FDRL