OCTOBER 1, 1958
While still in Leningrad last week I spent a few hours one morning with Dr. David Gurewitsch at a small hospital with 150 beds that serves a factory area. The institution has a woman director, but most of the doctors are men. As we were led around, the patients all seemed quite unaccustomed to visits from strangers, but they showed us their rooms. Mostly there were six beds to a room, but a few small rooms had only two patients.
Later in the afternoon I visited a club for the deaf and dumb. I had never seen anything like this and know of nothing exactly like it in America. It is a gathering place for these people after school and after work. For recreation they dance, "listen" to lectures, and take part in the ever-popular game of chess. An amateur group at the club put on a performance of a dance and pantomime for me such as it gives regularly twice a week for the members.
I was shown a film, too, that tells of the club members' work in nurseries, kindergartens and schools and showing other types of work deaf people are doing that is designed to encourage the deaf members of the club. What looked to me like a good library was available and all those present seemed happy, and I thought such a center might be very helpful.
In the evening when we went to the train we found Mme. Konitzkaya waiting for us with a present for each of us and a gift from her children to my grandchildren. One of her little girls had sent her favorite doll—a celluloid Puss in Boots—and I could hardly bear to take it. But I felt that feelings would be hurt by a refusal, and I hope one of my grandchildren will send them a gift at Christmas.
I heard a nice story about another little girl who wanted a dog. She saved her money until she had nearly enough and then her mother offered to help her out with the rest. But the little girl said, "Oh, please don't, mother, because then you would own an ear or a leg and he wouldn't be all mine. And I want him all mine." Finally, the little girl accepted a little help from her grandmother on the condition that no divided ownership was involved.
Only just the other day I heard of the death of my old friend, Margaret Fayerweather. She was an old Albanian who, as a young woman, kept house for her remarkable grandfather, Bishop Doane. Her children will always think of her as a devoted mother, and her family and friends will remember her as an interesting woman of many gifts, with a warm, unselfish spirit and enough iron in her make-up to endure pain and illness and go on undaunted.
She wrote many books for young people, which all have some flavor of history, for she had a feeling for history. All of us who knew her will feel the world has lost a bit of its richness in her passing, but she has left us happy memories.
I have just got around to reading President Eisenhower's speech to the nation on the situation in the Far East, and we all pray that his hopes for peaceful settlement are justified. When people want to believe a certain set of assertions are true, it is hard to make them believe in a set of opposite facts.
The one mistake in our policy that makes me apprehensive is that I feel we should have prevailed on Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek sometime ago to give up those islands nearest to the mainland. Fortifying them must have seemed like a threat to the Communist Chinese.
It seems to me now that too much hope cannot be placed in the talks, and placing the question before the United Nations at the earliest possible moment might be advisable.
Another item of interest to me was Dr. Charles Malik's election to the Presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations for this year. My warm congratulations go to him and I am glad to read that he will emphasize disarmament and human rights as his greatest spheres of interest.
(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 1, 1958
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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