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NEW YORK, Thursday—I feel very jubilant this afternoon! I have seen two women well over forty making a gallant fight, not only to meet their own needs, but to support others. They make this fight and still remember there are other people less well off, and gain joy from giving to them.

I shall tell you the stories so you may enjoy them with me. Some time ago, I received a letter from a woman who described herself as middle-aged, and who said her husband had a small business, but in these days it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to meet the family needs. Their only daughter had died, a crushing blow from which he seemed unable to recover. There was one thing she knew how to do and she decided to try it. Would I care to order some cakes or cookies, or a hot meal of any kind? She would send it to me within the boundaries of New York City.

This morning I thought I would go to see her. She is a little deaf, but she manages to be bright and cheerful. Her kitchen is a joy to behold. The smells which come from it are delectable. Her business is growing by leaps and bounds and I think "Antoinette," as she calls herself, will soon be employing other people.

I had a good time and I liked her husband. When he brought me some children's books illustrated by Maxfield Parrish, such as I remember giving my children years ago, and, handling them with loving care, remarked that they belonged to the daughter of the house when she was a child, there was a lump in my throat. All her other books had been given to the library, but they had read that there was a place in the Ozarks to which I had sent no books the other day, and he asked if I would care to send these. I hope that my missionary in his mountain home reads them to many children, for these people deserve to feel the joy of useful giving.

Next, in answer to a letter which asked if I would accept some children's dresses to give away and come for them myself, I went to meet a little old lady of seventy, a cripple who broke her leg last year and did her sewing in bed. She has always been a seamstress, earning in her best days, five dollars a day. When she has no work, she makes children's clothes out of the scraps she has left and gives them to various people. I came away with a box which will go to some families I know, where life is rather drab.

The little old lady had a father who always made a comfortable income and gave very liberally but saved nothing, so after his death she supported her mother and one sister until they died. Now there is only one sister left and she is a charity patient in a home for the blind because the little old lady does not make quite enough, even with a boarder, to support anyone but herself. Pretty good to be able to do that at seventy and also to be thinking of ways in which you can make children happy.

Don't you feel a bit jubilant too? The world is a pretty good world, isn't it, with such people in it?

E.R.

(Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 24, 1939

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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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

Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
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