My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SANTIAGO, Chile, Friday—I have had beautiful weather since I've been down here, and all Chileans tell me this is completely characteristic of this season of the year. The Foreign Minister told me that he had seen showers with sunshine in the United States but that such things did not happen in Chile.

Because there is a festive air about this city these days because of the inauguration this week, I imagine the streets are more crowded with people than is ordinarily the case. I have not had a good look at a city map as yet, but it seems to me that one very wide street with which I am familiar is the main thoroughfare. On either side of it are most of the important buildings and down the middle of the street runs a park. In one area, even, there seems to be a sort of Coney Island, with a Ferris wheel and booths of all kinds of merchandise. Around this point there are nearly always crowds of people.

On last Sunday morning I was tendered a reception by the Women's Federation of Chile. This program consisted of three very delightful speeches made by Senora Graciela Mandujano, Senora Amanda Labarca and Senora Gonzalez Videla, after which I made a short response. Our national anthem was played at the beginning of the program and the national anthem of Chile closed the proceedings. As we left the Municipal Theater, where the reception was held, the crowd gathered so closely around the cars that Senora Gonzalez could not find her car and we had to take her home.

We paid a brief visit to Arturo Pacheco Altamirano in his studio and saw many of the pictures he had painted in the United States when he had his exhibitions there last year in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. He is recognized as one of Chile's most prominent painters and since his work is more in the classical tradition I can really appreciate it. The more modernistic artists are still very difficult for me to understand.

Last Sunday afternoon we drove out to the Villa Maria Academy, a school established by nuns from Philadelphia where English and Spanish are used interchangeably. The school is in the suburbs of the city, and to reach it we passed through a delightful residential district.

For the first time I realized that once out of the heart of the city one may look down any avenue and see the mountains in every direction. Anyone living in Chile must grow up with this view of the mountains constantly before them and, consequently, must miss them if they have to go out of the country.

The scene seems to change constantly before one's eyes. For instance, as we drove to a very beautiful country place for a reception given by Senor Arturo Cousino and his wife we saw the play of the clouds upon the mountains. A little shower had been followed by a beautiful rainbow, which against the background of the dark mountains was very lovely indeed.

In a big country place such as this one the garden seems practically to be a part of the house, and this particular house had been built by a man who, I am told, also built many homes in Miami, Fla. This house is nearly all windows, through which the sunshine streams, but the furnishings have come down in the family through generations. I walked into one room that looked very familiar with its Aubusson rug, French furniture, Sevres mantle ornaments and innumerable Dresden china figurines. They belong to a period we know well in the United States.

The Haitian delegation took this opportunity to confer a decoration from the Republic of Haiti on our hostess. I was particularly glad to be there because of the warm appreciation expressed for the kindness that had existed between this delegation and their host and hostess and the grace with which the whole little ceremony was carried through.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Santiago (Chile) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 8, 1952

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.