My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, , Sept. 27—On our return trip from Australia, it was almost like coming home to see familiar faces when we landed from the plane at Honolulu. Our time was short, so after supper we attended a movie which was a combination of love and murder. The plot was not very original but it had plenty of suspense and the break when the reels were changed always occurred at the most exciting spot.

I was up at 6:00 a.m., since there was a boy hospitalized there who had had a bad time and they thought if I saw him it might buck him up. I think my promise to see his mother on my return brought a smile to his face. By the way, if you have been a blood donor, I would like to tell you from personal observation that you are saving many a life. Keep up the good work.

We started our flight at 8:00 a.m. and were, as usual, right on schedule, so I had time to get clean and to send all belongings to have the dust from several islands removed before the press conference of some size appeared.

After the press left, I sat with one or two submarine sailors for whom the place was a rest area. They told me how it was run. The crew of every submarine after a tour of duty comes here to rest. The officers and men both come and are granted the same privileges. They eat the same food and have the same difficulty their first night sleeping on soft beds. You may have seen the photograph of two sailors with all their belongings neatly folded on beds, and themselves sleeping peacefully on the floor. I would not have believed it had a boy not told me he could not sleep at first, because the bed was too soft and there was too much space around him.

The ocean is at hand to swim in and there are lounges and games. Everyone seems to get on with everyone else. They think most highly of their branch of the service and rate the men for their efficiency in doing their jobs. They know they do dangerous work and they must be able to trust each other. I planned the next day to have a chance to talk with some of these boys, who have some outstanding exploits of the war to their credit.

In the evening I dined with Governor Ingram Stainback and his charming wife in the Governor's House, which is known as Washington Place. It was so named, I was told, before the legislature designated it as Governor's House. It is lovely, spacious, cool and dignified and made even more delightful by a garden. We went there after dinner and were entertained by a native family group, who told us about their songs and dances and sang and danced for us. Their voices are soft and melodious and the girls are very graceful. This grace stays with them into maturity and even into old age. A grandmother, who will soon be eighty, was as poised and moved as well as a young girl.

They welcomed me and hung leis around my neck. The tall bamboos made a wonderful background and for a time I wondered if I was dreaming this nightmare of war, and life was as simple and lovely as "aloha" made it sound. Then it was over and we drove back to the place where the boys rest after engaging in activities which mean that you either kill or get killed.

Yes, war is only too real and we must not forget it, for its speedy ending largely depends on our never letting up our efforts till the last gun is fired. And yet, just as the boys forget, so as to fight harder, so must we all relax now and then or the strain will become too great.


(Copyright, 1943, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington, DC, United States [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 28, 1943

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.