My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Sunday—Some children are really remarkable in the way they meet whatever is expected of them. My grandson, Bill, whom I haven't seen since last spring, was expected to meet me and greet me with warmth, and to my complete surprise, he did.

He and his mother always give me a Christmas present together. This year I was not in the White House when they arrived and it was packed up by mistake and taken back to Philadelphia. We had no sooner started the car, than I handed Bill some books which I had brought and he said with a charming smile: "We brought you a present too." His mother had to tell him where it was and he rummaged until he found it and handed it to me. With the greatest of interest, he watched my every move as I opened it. I knew, having watched many other children, that he had completely forgotten what the present was and therefore was just as curious as I was to see the final-wrappings come off.

Nothing is more charming than a spontaneous, healthy, good-natured child. I'm sure Bill's smile will always provoke an answering one.

A number of guests arrived in Washington on Saturday. Baron and Baroness de La Grange, who are over here from France and whom it is always a pleasure to see; Hartley Howe and Mr. and Mrs. George Carlin and four children. I always enjoy having children as my guests in the White House, for they are so enthusiastic and really interested in all they see. Our old friends, Bishop and Mrs. Oldham of Albany, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Straus and Miss Grace Falke also dined with us on Saturday night.

The President is going to have a special press conference on Monday to tell of the plans for the Fight Infantile Paralysis Campaign and to open it by paying the first dollar membership.

There are three classes of membership—you may become a personal founder for $1.00; an honorary founder for $2.00 and a family founder for $5.00.

Everyone with children will probably want to be a family founder if they possibly can, for though we all hope our children will be spared, the knowledge that many children spend months and years recovering from this dread disease makes every one of us anxious to do all we can to put this new foundation in a position to do the necessary research work and to extend help as it is needed in every part of this country.

I remember well my sense of helplessness last fall when a woman came to me in a small city in Ohio and told me there were no facilities for after-care anywhere within her reach and she had spent all she could afford on her small son. She had no money to send the child to Warm Springs or to any other distant sanitarium and no hope of improvement in her own locality. She was very bitter and I could hardly blame her, knowing what my feelings would have been under similar circumstances.

I hope therefore, that this campaign will be a great success and I congratulate the workers who are volunteering their services.


(Copyright, 1938, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 17, 1938

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

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.