The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS—When we went to the airport at Tehran for our flight to Israel we were told there would be several hours' delay while an airplane engine was being repaired. But Ambassador and Mrs. Edward T. Wailes had insisted on staying at the airport with us and, of course, my daughter and son-in-law were there, as well as Mr. Tom Power, who is the resident coordinator for the United Nations project in Iran.

And we must have made an odd-looking group. For it was the Iranian New Year's Day and that morning Mr. Wailes and Mr. Power had paid their respects to the Shah, and here they were still attired in their white ties and tails! Sitting at lunch at the airport between two and four o'clock I could not help thinking that they must have been a little uncomfortable. Of course, I enjoyed having them all with us and was most grateful for all the kindnesses they showed me, but the picture of those two gentlemen will make me feel uncomfortable for some time.

When we arrived at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv I was surprised to find not only a number of Israeli friends but a representative of our Embassy waiting to greet me.

Next morning we drove to an Arab village where we toured a modern canning plant, which had been in operation for only two months and which was putting up orange juice and oranges in every possible form, including the rind. Sauerkraut also was being canned, and just as soon as a new machine is installed, which had just arrived from the United States, they will begin to can peas.

A cooperative was formed to establish this canning factory, and also to buy a tractor to help in their work. What surprised me was that the idea had not occurred to them that they might market their goods together outside the cooperative. The head man working with the Arab villages seemed to me a very intelligent person, and certainly the living conditions in many of the villages were being improved quite rapidly.

From that village we went to the Alonei Itzak Children's Village, and there we found Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Brisker. Mrs. Brisker is Senator Paul Douglas's daughter. She spends part of her time teaching in the school and also commutes to Tel Aviv studying for the social service work she eventually wants to do.

Mr. Brisker is very enthusiastic about the Children's Village. He told me the feature they felt most important in the development of the children is the fact that the youngsters lived in their houses, which contain four or five rooms with three to five children in each room, without any adult counselor in the house. The one exception is the house with really small youngsters; this has a counselor.

All of the youngsters eat in a central building. Their school, which goes through the high-school grades, is in several houses in one area, and each of the dormitory houses share a social room.

The children, of course, help with the work of the village, having their own vegetable gardens, raising poultry, keeping the houses clean, helping in the kitchen, and doing all the everyday chores that must be done.

The smaller children attend school in the morning, and the older ones in the afternoon after having worked from three to four hours in the morning. They all looked healthy and strong, despite what seemed to me like a pretty strenuous schedule for their ages.

The director acknowledged that it would be more advantageous if everyone could do his school work in the morning, but since the children must be responsible for so much of the work this is impossible. And since it is the object of the village to teach the children how to live and to be useful citizens, it is important that they make this concession to the needs of their everyday living.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 2, 1959

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.