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

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—In one of the Washington newspapers the other night, I noticed an editorial which quite evidently was written as a "fill." It expressed great surprise at the number of illiterates being discovered by the Army among selectees, and it wanted to know why this should be, considering the fact that most of the states for twenty or thirty years have had compulsory education.

"Do people," it read, "forget how to read and write, or doesn't compulsory education compel?"

That is rather a nice question, but the writer may not know that in the United States there are many areas where children cannot get to school and, besides, there are many people who have no clothes their children can wear to school.

Yesterday we had a picnic for a fair-sized group which gave us a chance to spend awhile in the pool, and some time showing everybody around the place after lunch.

Today we all have been to church, and, on the whole, I think we will have a more peaceful day even for the President, than any day since he came, because the main things which were on his mind seem all to be in the morning paper.

I received a letter, the other day, sent me by an English Naval officer, written by his daughter in London. For two reasons I am quoting parts of the letter here. One is that it shows a confidence and companionship between two generations which is not often achieved. The other reason is that it shows what the spirit of youth can be, and that two generations can work together, for the mother seems to be working as hard as this young woman is at tasks as dangerous and as nerve-racking.

Here is part of the letter:

"April, 1941.

"Darling Daddy: It is difficult to put into words expressive enough a description of the raid of Wednesday night... For ten hours the din was incessant—guns, planes, fire bells and the tinkle of shrapnel, not to speak of bombs. We rocked like a ship all night. I did more work yesterday than I have for a long while. I went on duty at nine and we had lots of dirty ambulances to clean. We had carried eighty-one casualties during the night with six ambulances. Everything had a puncture or something amiss and we lost masses of equipment. No shortage of dead.

"I wasn't shocked, as I had expected to be. I have so often visualized it and have armed myself against it...We had sleep last night. There were two alerts, but people were so tired they didn't hear them...I am conscript now since April first...

"I wish Mummy would leave the RAR. She is always tired...We are extremely lucky to still have our gas and water at home. The lights failed here and in thousands of instances...The ambulances were mostly Green Line buses, which take nine cases...

"A bomb fell through St. Paul's again and exploded in the crypt where they had Easter Sunday services, which I went to a week ago...We had a good dance down here on Easter Monday. It was jolly throughout and one forgot raids. Thank heaven no blitz interrupted. Cheerio and tons of love and kisses.

"From Marion."



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 28, 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
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.