MAY 8, 1957
LONDON—In driving through the English countryside, I have been impressed by the amount of work done in removing scars of World War II.
In visiting Lady Reading's home in the country, we passed through peaceful and pastoral Sussex Downs. An old house here is really an old one, and as we were walking around, Lady Reading pointed to a wall on which were some curious gargoyle faces and casually said, "Those are 1,000 years old."
One part of the house is Elizabethan and the newer part is Georgian. The people here are not free, however, from the troubles that come with insects, and when I heard her complaining that the house was going to be torn apart because of the black beetles in the beams, I thought of our Los Angeles termites and that age did not seem to free one from such nuisances.
In the afternoon we drove to Brighton and walked the length of the pier to see the fishermen. I could not help but think of similar amusements at Atlantic City and Coney Island and that people everywhere, young and old, on a holiday seek the same type of diversion.
There is a walk, however, that runs for several miles by the sea at the foot of a chalk cliff, on which I would have liked to wander. But the sea was gray and the wind was cold, so we got back into the car and took refuge indoors.
England has a shortage of schoolrooms and teachers, but its newspapers report that both of these problems are expected to be met in 12 months. They evidently are not content, as we are, to have a crisis in education and do nothing about it.
Lady Reading has made the Women's Voluntary Services an organization through which the needs of almost any group requiring voluntary workers can be met. And almost any interest a person might have can find expression in the work of the Women's Voluntary Services.
For instance, Lady Reading told me of a new service that has been inaugurated in the prisons and is proving successful. Women are assigned as friends of individual prisoners. They render small services, get in touch with the families and help these families during the period of imprisonment.
Later, they help the man or woman coming out of prison in getting a job and otherwise resuming a normal life. All this is done as a friend, not as an official might do it, and it shows signs of being extremely useful.
The WVS also has developed "free meals on wheels" which are taken to old or ill persons unable to leave their homes. This also has proved to be an invaluable service, helping the health services of the community and adding a ray of sunshine in the lives of those who otherwise might be completely alone.
I found this same type of service being carried out by some of the Jewish organizations in Morocco. How much of it we do at home in the United States I do not know, but I shall try to find out, for it seems to be very helpful.
(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 8, 1957
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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