JANUARY 3, 1939
WASHINGTON, Monday—Yesterday I did not have space to tell you very much about our New Year's Eve celebration but I imagine by this time you feel fairly familiar with our activities. We had all the family and close friends we could gather together to dine with us. Two people who have become habitual guests on this occasion were here again, Bishop Atwood and Mr. Endicott Peabody, the Rector of Groton School. My husband and the boys are always happy to have them with us. I was sorry that Mrs. Peabody does not make it a custom to be here with her husband on New Year's Eve.
After dinner we had a movie called "Pygmalion" which all of us found delightful, and at about 11:20 the lights went on again and we all gathered in the President's study and waited for the radio to announce the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. In a few minutes, my niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, came from the dance she had been attending, accompanied by Robert and Henry Morgenthau and Miss Eleanor Flood.
It is the President's custom as the midnight hour strikes, to drink the first toast of the year, as I am sure has always been done in this house, "To the United States." After that come personal toasts, but I rather think few people who have the privilege of drinking this first toast in this historic house can do so without a thrill. I feel sure that it makes our country mean more to us every day of the year.
We have the traditional eggnog on New Year's Eve for these toasts and when we have all wished each other collectively and individually a Happy New Year and drunk a toast to absent family and friends, the telephone rings and we talk to our daughter in Seattle, even though it is not midnight with them. We did not call the boys who were away, because we felt they might be out of their own homes and so we had to be content with telegrams.
Some of you may have read in the press about a rather unfortunate incident which a thoughtless boy and girl brought about by their intrusion on New Year's Eve. The consequences of their rude and unmannerly behavior were not as serious as they might have been, but as so often happens in this world, their acts will bring rather serious consequences to other people. It is rather sad to have young people grow up at present so thoughtless and unmindful of others, that in a spirit of bravado they will do a thing which good manners alone should prevent them from undertaking.
I do not know at all what other people will feel, but I imagine that to some young people at least, behavior of this kind will make this young couple seem rather heroic. However, I hope they will realize that in other people's minds it will leave quite a different impression. I, for one, would not wish to have in my employ any young people who acted with so little thought and consideration for others.