My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—A friend of mine sent me a quotation the other day from a book I have not read in a long time, but the quotation is so very apropos that I want to quote it again. How many of you nowadays read "The Education of Henry Adams"? I assure you it is still worth reading. Here is the excerpt.

"And then since we act that way as individuals, we do as a community, too. We want churches and clubs and schools that are 'correct,' that is, recognizably socially superior. The sham spreads to high places. And we want our nation to be a power, too, a force. We would rather belong to a successful nation than a righteous one.

"And judging by success, we say that the measure of a great nation is its standard of living. What counts is how well fed—over-fed—the people are, not the role of the nation and what it offers a world in ferment. And within the nation we will choose to belong to the best party, the party in power, the successful party. And we will keep it in power—any way. We will be very lost. We will have lost our sense of proportion. We will use the finally divisive word 'treason .' And someone who does not worship power will have to stand up and say, good and loud, 'If this be treason, make the most of it!'"

Wednesday I had a few friends in to lunch and everyone who arrived said, "Oh, when there is a parade, one should never try to move from one side of New York City to the other!"

St. Patrick's Day always brings us one of the most colorful parades of the season and it has a special meaning for me because it played a part in my wedding. Many people on that day arrived saying just what my guests said at luncheon!

One of my luncheon guests, a bridesmaid on that 17th of March so many years ago, brought me some flowers, saying, "I was reminded of the day and I wanted to mark it." We waited a little while for a French lady who had been invited but finally we sat down and I rehearsed the excuses I would make if she arrived breathless and extremely late. She would say, "I am so sorry, Mrs. Roosevelt, but I did not know how long I would be held up by the parade," and I would reply, "I am more than sorry, Madame, for of course I should have told you about the parade." Then we proceeded to eat everything that was before us and I doubt if she had come whether there would have been any luncheon left for her!

This week I saw a very well produced play which is called a musical Arabian Nights, "Kismet," and the charming rascal with whom everyone falls in love is wonderfully personified by Alfred Drake. The songs are delightful and it is a light and pleasant evening about nothing. The scenery in the second act seems to me very lovely and the young people with me had a perfectly delightful time. The play is perfect for the young and the tired businessman who wants light entertainment.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 20, 1954

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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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.