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

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GOLDEN BEACH, Fla., Friday—I happened to be awake at dawn yesterday and saw the marvelously bright full moon gradually covered by what looked like a black shutter. However, the eclipse of the moon did not impress me very much, because here, where clouds keep blowing across the sky, it might just have been a very black cloud sailing by the moon as they sail by the sun during the day.

Yesterday was spent much as all our days are, playing a little deck tennis, getting into the deliciously soft feeling water, and sitting in the sun or reading in the shade.

The book I read was Lin Yutang's "With Love And Irony." I am enjoying the point of view of the Chinese author who, like many of his countrymen, is a good deal of a philosopher. He has a delightful gift for description and makes me want to see the cities of the Far East before circumstances change even the results of centuries of civilization.

I like his chapter on "What I Want." One sentence amused me particularly: "The real charm of Diogenes for us lies in the fact that we moderns want too many things, and particularly that we often do not know what these things are ....In our best and sanest moments, however, we know that Diogenes' god can not be our god. That we want a good many things in life and that these things are definitely good for us. The man who knows what he wants is a happy man."

He then proceeds to tell us what his own wants are. They are not all my wants. With amusement, I began to think what fun it would be if we could put some of our friends into a room and make each one write down his wants quite honestly. I think much entertainment would come out of this game, but also much enlightenment for ourselves and our friends.

We might all agree upon one want. Dr. Lin Yutang says: "I want some good friends, friends who are as familiar as life itself, friends to whom. I need not be polite, and who will tell me all their troubles, friends who have definite hobbies and opinions about persons and things, who have their private, beliefs and respect mine."

The first and last part of the above paragraph describe almost perfectly for me the essential qualities in any friend.

Yesterday I received a large envelope from the British American Ambulance Corps. It contained samples of cloth and told me of a donation of ten percent from the textile converters on the sales of fabrics which are identified by their design with the British cause. So, if yo you want a dress, a blouse, a hat or accessories made out of a material which has something in the design reminiscent of this cause, you can probably get it at almost any store after March the 17th. Most of these materials seem to me attractive as well as purposeful.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Lin, Yutang, 1895-1976 [ index ]
         Chinese writer and inventor
  • Golden Beach (Fla., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 15, 1941

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.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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.