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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—Yesterday, in Washington, was a fairly quiet day. I held a press conference in the morning and had one or two visitors in the afternoon.

I caught the night train to New York City. So far, the day has been taken up with the dentist, shopping and seeing a friend, Mrs. Henry Goddard Leach, who is in the hospital. She slipped on a mountain trail last summer and broke her arm and has had a most uncomfortable time, but now is well on her way to recovery.

The other day, I told you about some American boys who thought they had found the most wonderful foster-mother in the world near their camp. That column brought me a most charming letter from some British boys, who are not going to be outdone by any Americans in loyalty and appreciation for a woman who has taken them into her home and shown them real hospitality. I think you would like to read the letter, which is an example of how to build understanding and good feeling with people of other countries. Here it is:

"We would like to tell you of an American mother we've found over here in these wonderful States, so far from our own mothers in England. She is Mrs. Paul W. Jenkins, of Kansas City, Mo., only we call her 'Mama Jenks.' In spite of her large and active family of four youngsters, her never-ceasing interest in civic enterprises, etc.; she has found time to adopt and mother us Royal Air Force lads, located in a training school not far from Kansas City.

"The most wonderful time any of us ever had was on our first visit to Kansas City, when seven of us spent a week in the Jenkins home. There we were surrounded by delightful music of all kinds (since it is Mrs. Jenkins' hobby) table tennis, a bridge game any time, badminton, bicycling, croquet and worlds of good reading material.

"Ever after this visit, our week-ends were spent in the Jenkins home. No advance notice from us was ever necessary. Mama Jenks let us plan the meals, so we might each have in turn the particular dishes we had been craving.

"Following our visits, letters (with snapshots of us enclosed) were written to our parents telling how well we were, etc.

"One of our lads was taken very ill with strep throat while on a week-end visit to Mama Jenks and remained seriously ill for ten days, during which time she nursed him day and night. Our flight commander, over long distance, suggested that this lad be removed to a hospital, fearing it would be too difficult for Mama Jenks to carry on. But not our Mama Jenks—she was in attendance every minute, until this lad recovered sufficiently to return to his training school.

"As our birthdays came along, so came each boy's favorite cake. They were always huge ones and enclosed in each was a package of candles with which to adorn each cake.

"We could continue indefinitely to write about our Mama Jenks, her unselfishness, her characteristic thoughtfulness and how we all love her, but suffice to say, we hope to come back to this wonderful America to live after this war is over, and rest assured we will all locate near our Mama Jenks, because we think she is a bit of all right. From Mama Jenks RAF Sons."



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 24, 1942

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.