My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Wednesday—Last night we held the last of the big dinners of the year. Senator Frederick Hale, of Maine, took me into dinner and remarked: "Don't you get terribly tired of all this?"

As a matter of fact, everybody gets tired of any one occupation, whether it is work or entertainment. Whoever wrote the ancient saying, "Variety is the spice of life, " knew the nature of human beings quite well. Merely going to work at the same hour every day, even if the nature of the task you perform is varied, is eventually tiresome. Anything repeated over and over again brings people to the point where they are stale and need a change of environment to vary their thoughts.

I have often wondered how it was possible for actors and actresses to throw themselves completely into their parts night after night. I imagine their salvation is an ability to live the part as though it were a new thing each night.

There was a well-known lecturer, I am told, who covered this country from coast to coast and gave the same lecture over and over again in exactly the same words with the same voice intonations and gestures. Apparently, he was always able to draw crowds and hold them, so he couldn't have been bored himself. But to me that is entirely inexplicable. I can talk on the same subject if I am getting a new slant on it from other people, or am able to draw something new out of my own head about it. However, I know quite well that I haven't the gift which makes it possible to perform that repetition stunt and keep it fresh and interesting to others as well as to myself.

In the matter of entertaining or of work, I have never had such a complete dose of either one that I found myself getting really bored. Whatever work I am doing is interesting, because it is a game to find time enough to do it, and the same holds true for entertainment.

If I did nothing else, of course, I would be bored, but to meet the demands the month of April puts upon the hostess in the White House and, at the same time, meet the inner urge to get out on the open road, is another game and there is never a dull moment trying to do both.

We rode again this morning at 7:00 o'clock. A little after 9:00, five of us started off in two cars for Williamsburg, Virginia. We took Route 1 into Fredericksburg and then Route 17, which goes nearer the water and eventually brings you to Gloucester Point, from which one takes the ferry to Yorktown.

The country is beautiful. The sheep and the lambs, the cows and the calves, all look frolicsome and I feel the need to be a poet. There is nothing more worth putting into rhyme than the first take-off on the open road in the spring sunshine with everything so "new and young and all," as Mr. Kipling would say.

We have had our first picnic lunch in a pine grove. Mrs. Scheider is using the picnic basket as a typewriter desk. All our guests are asleep under different trees, but before long we will drive the last few miles to Gloucester.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Williamsburg (Va., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 21, 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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.