The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK , N.Y., Monday—On Sunday we drove to church along a road which was lined with people the greater part of the way. There were masses of people in the village of Hyde Park, and outside the church. Crowds may sometimes become rather tiring, but both the King and the Queen said that they felt keenly the friendliness of these crowds and were deeply touched by them.

Bishop Tucker preached the sermon, and our own rector, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Smith, the rector of the church at Campobello Island, assisted in the service. As soon as we reached home, everyone went to change into picnic clothes, and I dashed away to the top of the hill, taking Mrs. Myron Taylor and Major Henry S. Hooker with me. I hoped to arrive ahead of my guests, but a considerable number of cars got ahead of me. When I saw how much dust surrounded us, I realized that Saturday night's little shower had done little good, and I was glad that all the cars would be in place and parked before the President started to come up with the King and Queen.

On arrival I found that Miss Thompson and Mrs. Helm had everything all arranged, and all our guests filed by the President and Their Majesties as soon as they arrived. The children showed their interest in wide eyes, and one little girl made a deep curtsey very prettily. We have one man who builds roads through the place who has ten children, and he brought nine of them! The family made such a showing that both the King and the Queen inquired if all these children belonged to that one mother and father.

After lunch Princess Te-Ata and Ish-Ti-Opi gave a short program. The platform was built around the trees and the setting was quite perfect for the Indian songs and legends. This was the only American music which was not on our program at the White House, and I think I can say that both the King and Queen enjoyed it. I watched them when Princess Te-Ata was doing a story in Indian sign language, and they seemed much amused.

Ish-Ti-Opi is quite a remarkable actor as well as a singer. His song of the last weaving, when the old woman is putting into her blanket the end of her life, has much of the sadness which one feels in the songs and stories of both Negroes and Indians. A proud people, our American Indians, and I liked the grace with which both these representatives of the first inhabitants of our land carried themselves when they were presented to Their Britannic Majesties.

Nothing was planned for the afternoon, so we sat under the trees around the swimming pool. The President and the King went in swimming, while the Queen and Lady Nunburnholme, with some other members of the household, sat around under the trees with me and looked on.

I have had some interesting talks with both the King and the Queen, and am constantly astonished at their realization of the changed conditions which we are facing all over the world. Of course, in Europe they are even closer to many of the changes than we are over here.

The Queen told us that when she talked to her two young daughters over the telephone yesterday, they were much amused that she was about to go to luncheon, when the younger one was about to go to bed. They were not in the least interested in the heat of Washington, because they have been having a heat wave in London.

Dinner last night was very pleasant, but as they all had to leave about twenty minutes before eleven for the train, there was that feeling one always gets of watching the clock and not becoming too involved in any conversation after dinner, for fear the hour of departure will arrive.

I have always thought that having ladies-in-waiting and gentlemen-in-waiting would be rather trying, both for kings and queens and their entourage, but everyone seemed to know just exactly what to do and they made life much easier by their great thoughtfulness and tact in any situation. They always seemed near at hand, but out of the picture until something was needed.

A procession of cars drove down to the little Hyde Park station to see the royalty off, and a crowd was gathered in the village and at the station, in spite of the fact that during dinner we had a very heavy thunderstorm. The Queen remarked that this completed the cycle of weather they had experienced; having seen ice and snow and rain and great heat, they ended off with lightning, thunder and wind and a downpour of rain.

However, it was all over when we started for the station. There the King and Queen said good-bye and a word of thanks to everyone. They remembered each individual, the chauffeur who drove them, the State Police and the Major in charge of the detail of soldiers. Once on the platform of their car, they turned to stand until the train pulled out.

The crowd suddenly began to sing "Auld Lang Synde" and then the verse of another Scotch song. I saw the newspaper people writing notes hastily, and I am sure they sensed a feeling of regret, that seemed to be in every individual present, at bidding good-bye to this gracious couple who have endeared themselves to all who have seen them.

We stood and waved, but my mother-in-law reminded us of the old superstition that one must not watch people out of sight, so before they turned the bend, we were back in our cars and on our way home.

This morning the President and I start for West Point, and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Leavitt and their son from Spokane, Washington, are going with us. That I will have to tell you about tomorrow.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park, New York, United States [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 13, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.