My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I had a number of appointments yesterday so my morning in New York City was very crowded. I enjoyed being at the Junior League for luncheon, and was extremely glad not to be removed from the plane by some military necessity, for in that case I would have had to arrive rather late in Washington for our family reunion.

I certainly was most anxious to see my husband and hear all the things which one cannot put on paper and which one never hears, if one does not hear them very soon after they happen!

In writing my column the other day describing the USO club I visited, I abbreviated so much that I apparently gave no recognition to the people who are running USO clubs. I realize, of course, quite well, that these clubs are now run by a committee of management, serviced by volunteers, except for a paid director and, occasionally, an assistant director, a director of programs and a superintendent of the building itself.

Volunteer workers have innumerable committees and carry very important and exacting work. In writing about the management of one of their USO buildings, I casually said a committee of men in the armed services showed me around. That grew out of the fact that in Great Britain, in every Red Cross Club, there is a committee of servicemen. Naturally, it changes as men are ordered to different places and only functions in conjunction with the permanent committee. This small committee of men, however, is the liaison whereby the likes and dislikes and the desires of the men are made clear to the civilian committees.

In addition to this, at this same USO, in speaking before the Monmouth County, New Jersey, Social Welfare Meeting, I tried to explain the system by which clothes are distributed in Great Britain, and evidently did it very badly. I want to take this opportunity to tell the people of this country that every individual in Great Britain receives a certain number of coupons and every article of clothing, when bought, reduces these coupons by whatever the government says each article is worth in coupons.

You may pay more for your garment, but you turn in the same number of coupons. When new things are sent over from here, or from any other source, nobody pays for them, they are given to the people. If they are new, the people are required to turn in their coupons. Our second-hand clothing has been of great assistance, because it can be obtained without payment or without coupons.

For people who are bombed out, this is a tremendous advantage, because even though the government recognizes their need for extra coupons, there are never enough for a complete wardrobe. That is one reason why the British people are so grateful to the people of the United States for the good quality second-hand garments which have come over. They have filled a real need.