My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Thursday—I woke to what seemed a rather warm day, but I have learned that heat is largely a matter of having time to think about it. My grandmother used to tell me this and it always annoyed me very much, for I thought it was just another of those "Pollyanna" sayings that grown-ups are so fond of using in talking to children. Now I have reached the grandmother stage and find that when you say these things you are really trying to convince yourself as much as any young people who may have to listen to you.

A kind friend spent all day yesterday trying to get me to a telephone and I finally went to a neighboring house this morning and called in answer to several urgent messages. One of them was a delightful invitation to spend another week on Long Island, but I must return tomorrow to a housefull of guests and, besides, I am not accustomed to being away and wonder what is happening at home. Something is always happening. This time there will be a new baby on the place for me to see. That in itself would take me home, for I love little babies even when they are not my own grandchildren.

In our leisure moments we have been reading a most delightful book aloud. It is " A Southerner Discovers The South" by Jonathan Daniels. We have enjoyed it and I have chuckled even when the mistakes which we "Yankees" make were pointed out. I think, perhaps, I have enough of my Southern grandmother in me to understand a real Southerner's feelings about certain things.

This book is written with a background which embraces much travel and enough living in other parts of the world to gain a perspective on all that is seen here. So many people in the South today still live in the past, just as the old inhabitants do in New England. There is much that is worth struggling to preserve in both these pasts, but we cannot do it unless we build a future in both places. I'm glad that Mr. Daniels stresses the fact that it is people who are of importance in this future we are preparing. He insists that our people everywhere, if given the opportunity, retain the qualities necessary to achieve a good life for themselves.

To create this opportunity is the objective of good government, or so it seems to me. I do not feel as strongly opposed to planning as Mr. Daniels apparently does, even when the planning is done in model towns, but we cannot be too careful not to regiment people and plan for them instead of dealing only with their surroundings.

The trouble, so often, has been that in our planning we made it impossible for people to live as they wished. We laid out their lives and their work as well as their houses and their streets.

There is much to be said also, as this book brings out, for a less hurried life such as exists in the South. What do we Northerners do with the seconds and minutes we save by constant hurrying? Nothing very important, very often. The Southern man or woman may really find more time to live and enjoy life than we do.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Patchogue (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 5, 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

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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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.