My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LENOX, Mass., Friday—Yesterday I motored to Kingston, N.Y., to speak for the Kiwanis Club on European impressions and United Nations experiences. Then I went to Grossinger, N.Y., to speak in the evening. Early this morning I came to Tanglewood where I am having a busy day, rehearsing this morning with Dr. Serge Koussevitzky my small part of recitation in "Peter and the Wolf". After lunch we do the recording and in the evening comes the regular performance.

I am really very nervous about this performance with Dr. Koussevitzky. I realize my lack of musical knowledge and how trying it may be to him. He very kindly asked me to lunch with him, and for supper my family will be coming up. We are all to have the pleasure of meeting another member of our family, Mrs. Kermit Roosevelt, who will arrive from New York City to be here for the night. We will go home after the performance because on Saturday morning I expect my son, James, to be in from California for a few days.

I had a most interesting letter the other day from which I want to quote. It was written by a woman whose home is in Ceylon. She says: "I have a Portuguese name because we were once ruled by them. Many of our ancestors became Roman Catholics and then adopted names given by the conquerors. From that time our families have been Roman Catholics and thus our foreign name."

The interesting thing about this letter is the warm feeling expressed for the American people, which seems to have come about because we have been fortunate enough in Ceylon to have representatives, both in government and in business, who have made friends. There is no feeling in this letter that these people have been exploited by an imperialist nation. There is a feeling quite evidently that they have been helped by a people with certain qualities which are less developed in the people of Ceylon. Now I will let her letter speak for itself.

"I am a young Sinhalese woman, am married and have a son 15 years old, and his name is Toni. My husband Elston is a motor engineer and has been closely associated with the American motor industry for the past 30 years...I married in 1932 when I was about 17. From that time some of my closest friends have been Americans—especially after the war we are having greater contact with the American people. The Sinhalese are beginning to appreciate American methods of business and the boundless vision your country holds out to us especially in every branch of business and industry. For us who have the slow-motion of the East in our blood, the vital quality of American thought has had an electrifying effect upon us. It is doing us good. We are beginning to see horizons beyond the shores of our little island. Achievement, not in terms of island-wide fame but international recognition. Many of our children wish to complete their studies in American universities, and some have been fortunate enough to secure scholarships that enable them to get there."

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Lenox (Mass., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 12, 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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.