My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico , Friday—On our arrival in Jamaica we were met by His Excellency, the Governor and Lady Huggins, as well as several other island officials and Colonel Dallin, who is in command of the U.S. Army Post. General Shedd also had come over from Puerto Rico and stayed with us for the whole time that we were visiting the various activities on the base.

We began with a visit to the hospital which was brief because, as I told you, there were so few patients. But they gave us tea, and I had a chance to talk with the men. Then we went to the Officers' Club where we met most of the officers, and later to the Officers' Mess for dinner. They have the same kind of crayfish that one gets off the coast of Florida, and these were the greatest treat. Then we proceeded with the entire post personnel, it seemed, to the outdoor theater where a movie was shown. I said a few words to the men.

From there we went over to the Enlisted Men's Club where one of the native Jamaican men sang some folk songs which were most amusing. I was warned that I would find their dialect hard to understand, but except for the fact that the names were unusual, it did not seem very difficult.

The boys came trouping in from the theater, and I noticed two boys sitting together eating ice cream and drinking milk. There is a dairy here so they can have fresh cow's milk, and I notice that the mechanical cows are being used more and more and are really popular.

We got to bed fairly early, but then we had to get up early the next morning to get started on our rounds by 7:30. We visited a number of barracks and mess halls and day rooms. All of them were equipped with books, magazines, radio games, and sometimes pool tables or ping pong tables. From this post it is difficult to get to any city, so there is a recreation center planned consisting of a canteen, beer garden, bowling alley and various outdoor activities.

The chapel is attractive, but the commanding officer says the men are not very good church goers. Before leaving, we also went to the club for civilian native workers who help maintain the grounds and do a certain amount of work in other activities on the post. They are very proud of their own mess hall, barracks and club, and are shortly going to have a club for the women workers.

I went through the laundry where the civilian workers seem very well satisfied with their pay and working conditions. The bakery and the place where they make ice cream were also on our list of visits. The various shops under the engineering division were most interesting. Here, everything is being repaired, even the machines taken over from the contractors who built the base, and a very good job of salvaging is being done.

We saw a group of Navy men, one of Marines, and a detachment of Air Force men all in their various barracks, and finally drove over to Kingston.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • San Juan (P.R., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 11, 1944

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