My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ROCHESTER, Minn. , Monday —After three hours in Chicago, I took off at 10 o'clock Saturday morning for Rochester. It was a lovely day and I couldn't have asked for a smoother trip.

At Rochester, Dr. and Mrs. Will Mayo met me and took me home with them, and then I went over to St. Mary's Hospital to see James. He was sitting up, fully dressed and looking extremely well—tanned from sitting in the sun on the roof, just as though he had been on a sea voyage. He had listened over the radio to my arrival and said he distinctly heard me say, "No, I don't think I have anything to broadcast." Apparently everything I said to anyone after I left the plane had been clearly heard not only by James but by everyone who listened to the radio!

Before lunch I went down and had a talk with several of the doctors.

In the afternoon James and I went with Dr. and Mrs. Mayo to the circus. It was my first circus since Sistie and Buzz left the White House. But the familiar thrills come back at all ages. I was just as relieved as ever when the lions and the tigers retired from the cage, leaving the lady trainer intact in her blue satin and, later, the man trainer in red unharmed behind them.

I think what amused me most, however, was the glimpse I had on the way out of an elephant's beauty treatment. I never before realized that an elephant's back is brushed clean with a broom, and that he lies down on his side to let his keeper do it. He evidently enjoys it very much!

One other little incident—when all the elephants were lined up spick and span for their final parade, one elephant picked up some hay from the ground and threw it on his back. You simply can't say that an elephant looks "sheepish," but this one certainly had a meek expression as he was called out in front of the others and made to lie down while his keeper brushed him off all over again.

After this James had a rest, and so did I. Our evening together was most pleasant. Later, I found my bed a very desirable spot after a night on the plane.

Sunday morning I had some time with James, and another talk with the special doctor in charge of his case, who is giving him directions which must be followed during the six weeks he will be away from here. At noon, Dr. Mayo took me over to the clinic building and Dr. Balfour attempted to give me, in a short hour, a picture of some of the work, both educational and experimental, which is constantly being carried on.

My space is too limited to tell you about it, but the imagination and vision which have brought about this network of institutions here are so amazing that one stands in awe of the people who accomplished all this. Each institution contributes something to the others while doing its own special work.

Nobody here seems to take much personal credit. They share it—with Sister Joseph, for instance, who first suggested St. Mary's Hospital, or with the many doctors. But as an observer you know that one or two persons have to be the moving spirits in every great achievement, and this is a great achievement!

This morning James and I started our flight home to Hyde Park, so that I may fulfill my promise to be home in three days, and he may go on his way to Campo Bello to continue his cure.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Rochester (Minn., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 19, 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.