JULY 2, 1948
HYDE PARK, Thursday—We have had some nice weather the last few days, but almost every day has been punctuated by a thunderstorm or heavy shower, so that nothing is ever dry. However, the heat is with us at last and almost everybody suffers except when they are swimming.
On Tuesday evening, I went to the graduation exercises at the New Lebanon, N.Y., High School, where they were dedicating a new building. One gentleman remarked that he had sat in the brook for half an hour before coming to the ceremonies, but that he was just as warm as though he had never tried to cool off.
I was interested in going to this school because in 1930 when my husband was Governor of New York, he dedicated this same high school building to which a new addition has now been added. As I listened to the young people speak, I thought of the hundreds of thousands of graduations going on all over this country and how many young people, boys and girls, must say and feel the same things as those who spoke here.
One boy pointedly reminded the older generation that they could expect nothing from the younger generation which they themselves have not put into that generation. He told his listeners that if they have not seen honesty, respect for the law, spiritual beliefs in evidence in their homes, they could hardly be expected to think much of these virtues for themselves. In plain English, what this young man said was: "Like father, like son."
It is fortunate that this is not always true , but there is certainly some truth in it. We, of the older generation, should certainly give the problems of the day enough thought so that the younger generation would feel that we are all facing this new and strange world of ours together. Surely, the older generation finds it as difficult a world to understand as any youngster does, and we might as well join hands and try to work out problems as they come up, with the best all of us have to contribute.
* * *
Living in the country has its moments of inconvenience. In the middle of a thunderstorm the other day all of our electricity went off. It came on again in about an hour, but during the time it was off, we had a good demonstration of what happens to people who never have learned to live without modern conveniences.
It is much harder, of course, when we are ordinarily surrounded with the usual gadgets, which we think necessary for comfortable living, suddenly to change our ways to those of the camper in the deep wilderness. Most of us have to meet these emergencies now and then, however, and we remember that people have cooked on open fires out-of-doors before and that they have carried the water they needed from a brook when the water pump was not working.
There is always someone in the house who has never cooked except on an electric stove and never carried a pail of water, and for them such events are minor calamities. I think it would be well if every child were given the opportunity to have some experience in getting along in primitive conditions. He then would not be overwhelmed when nature temporarily removes the working capacity of our modern gadgets.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1948, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 2, 1948
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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