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

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HELSINKI, Finland , Friday—During my recent tour of Scandinavia I have met so many people, visited so many places and seen and learned so much that it has been impossible to write to you of all my experiences, impressions and observations. Today, however, as I look back over my recent trip, I want to tell you about a few of them.

In Norway, anyone who is familiar with schools knows that Oslo carried on an experiment on the value of a school breakfast as against a school lunch. This is called the "Oslo Breakfast." They decided to do this because they found that they could furnish children with a third of the calories needed, and many of the required proteins by giving them a pint of milk, some kind of fruit—or fruit substitute—and a slice of dark bread with goat cheese. Not only was the experiment a success in that it showed the children gained more weight having breakfast than a noon-day dinner, but that they are more intellectually alert.

During one of my sightseeing tours I visited an outdoor museum. This was near Oslo. I say "outdoor" because they had samples of different types of houses over a period of many years. In one building they had sample rooms which show the development, and changing periods, from the 1600s to the present day. They had a Colonial period influenced by Great Britain, as, indeed, we had; a period of extremely bad taste, just as we went through, but you end with the simpler modern furniture of today, which is decidedly preferable to the intermediate period. It is not, however, quite as beautiful as some of the early handmade furniture.

During my stay in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, one evening, after dinner, we drove first to an exhibition of women's handcraft work. The woman in charge obtained money from the government and has insisted on reviving these arts. She showed us some beautiful examples of weaving—textiles, rugs and linens—knitting and embroidery. Later we drove out to a little lodge overlooking a ridge. Here we hoped to see the midnight sun. Just at midnight the clouds became slightly tinged with pink and we had a wonderful view of the sun. Our Finnish friends sadly told us that two nights before it was far more beautiful with many more colors in the sky, but I shall long remember the experience.

I am very disappointed that I have missed seeing the reindeer. At this time of the year they are out on the slopes of the mountain ranges—wandering freely around. In the winter they are hunted and provide practically all the food that the Lapps need to live on.

In Finland I had an unusual offer! The hotel where we stayed was new and comfortable—even the plumbing comparatively modern. It was here that I was offered a Swedish bath or "sauna." This means that you sit in a room in which the heat is brought to a high temperature by a stove—on the top of which are stones. Apparently it is very cleansing and many people take this type of bath. I did not give it a trial, however, and kept to our more conservative ordinary form of bathing!

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Helsink (Finland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 17, 1950

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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.