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

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HYDE PARK, Tuesday—As we motored to West Point yesterday, I went over in my mind the general impression of the past few days. I have so much confidence in the staff at the White House that I really never troubled about being able to make our royal visitors comfortable there. I did realize, however, that there might well be many little things which we did not understand, and which might seem a discourtesy to royalty when they would be merely thoughtless acts on our part.

I can only say that if any such things occurred, the training of kings and queens served them in good stead, for they never showed the slightest sign of being even put out about anything.

Perhaps the most personal impression which remains with me is the never failing thoughtfulness and graciousness of our guests. No one was ever forgotten, no one was ever greeted except with a smile, and everyone was greeted.

At Hyde Park the servants we brought from Washington suffered from a jinx which followed its course in three mishaps! My mother-in-law's serving table in the dining- room has a center standard. Too many dishes were put on one side and in the middle of the dinner, the table tipped over. No one could think for a minute because of the noise of breaking china.

Later in the evening, with a tray full of glasses, water, ginger ale and bottles, one of our men going into the big library slipped and dropped the entire tray on the floor. And as a final catastrophe on Sunday afternoon, my husband, moving backwards across the grass by the swimming pool, almost sat on another tray of glasses and pop bottles!

On each occasion Their Majesties remained completely calm and undisturbed.

From the standpoint of the public, I think this country will have a kindlier feeling toward the English nation, because so many people saw and welcomed a smiling King and Queen. May it bring us peace for many years to come.

I had the pleasure yesterday of introducing to my husband the gentleman whose acquaintance I made on a plane flying from Oakland, California, to Seattle, Washington, last spring. We were the only passengers. Both of us enjoyed the sunrise and had our early breakfast together, and so had plenty of time to talk. Ever since then I felt I would like the President to meet and talk with Mr. Walter Leavitt, of Spokane, Washington.

He arrived with his wife and son on Sunday evening, and I stopped at Nelle Johannesen's, where they were staying, to guide them through the woods to the big house on Monday morning. We all left for West Point a little after 10:00, and in about five minutes my husband and Mr. Leavitt were talking about trees, which was exactly what I had expected.

At the gate at West Point, Mr. and Mrs. Leavitt got out and returned to their own car, while General Benedict got in with us. It was the first time that I had seen the graduation exercises held in the new, big armory. It is perhaps not as picturesque as it was out of doors, but it certainly is very convenient, and in case of rain, it will mean peace of mind for all those present.

The President made the address and handed the diplomas to all the boys, which is quite an undertaking. I saw him stop the line several times to mop his brow. I had a special interest in one of the graduates because I had known him ever since he was struggling to get an appointment, so I was glad to see him come by with the first step in his career successfully over. In the afternoon he married a young lady who has had the patience to wait six years, which I think augurs well for a happy future.

Afterwards an officer came up and told me of an interesting coincidence. President Theodore Roosevelt had given him his diploma, 28 years before, and yesterday my husband gave a diploma to his son.

We had a delicious luncheon in the garden of the Superintendent's quarters. It is a lovely spot, but my eyes are always held by the old copper beech tree. It is the most beautiful tree I know of its kind, and I don't wonder that people come from far away and ask to be allowed to see it.

After the President and his staff started back for Washington, I stayed on a little while and then drove back over the Bear Mountain Bridge all by myself, feeling for the first time that delicious sense of freedom when you really have no more obligations.

In leisurely fashion I drove over to Fishkill farms to thank Secretary and Mrs. Morgenthau for the delicious strawberries which we all enjoyed at the picnic on Sunday, and received some extra quarts because they did not think Miss Thompson and I had had enough on Sunday. A puncture on the way home delayed me but nothing had to be done, so I could chat inconsequentially with some people at the garage.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 14, 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
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.