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

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PARIS, Thursday—Because I am so far away from home I had almost forgotten that this is Girl Scout Week. I have always had particular admiration for Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts of America.

Hampered by deafness and ill health in the later years of her life, she started this great organization because she wanted to see our girls prepare not only for homemaking but for the broader field of citizenship in their nation and their responsibility in the world as a whole. She felt confident that once it was established, the organization would grow and our girls would flock to support it.

Nowadays, the Girl Scouts are being taught, among other things, about the United Nations. Their 1948 program activity is called Clothes for Friendship. The girls have pledged themselves to collect and send to war-devastated areas in Europe and Asia one million warm garments for children under 15 years of age.

The youngsters ought to be helped in this project by the fact that the United States Government has issued a commemorative stamp honoring Mrs. Low, the sale of which was launched on October 29 in Savannah, Ga., Mrs. Low's birthplace and the city in which she started the first Girl Scout movement. Distribution of these stamps to post offices all over the country began on October 30, and Girl Scout Week should remind everyone to acquire them and at the same time help the Girl Scouts achieve their worth-while objective of one million garments for the needy.

* * *

Some young people to whom I talked the other day told me frankly that their daily occupations seemed hardly worth while with the cloud that is hanging over their heads constantly.

They are young and full of life and they work and strive to do well in whatever they undertake, but they cannot help but wonder what they will be doing next year or the year after.

Our own young people at home have little of this attitude because of the position we have taken on universal military training, which is contrary to our usual peacetime attitude.

It seems impossible today to hope for peace except as you are prepared to fight for the principles that you feel must be preserved in the world if any peace worth having is to be established. For that reason, temporarily at least, we must have the kind of military preparation that we have never had before. But the day we successfully establish the stages by which to prepare and accept a real inspection system for every nation in the world, then we can actually look forward to a gradual reduction of armaments of every kind and the doing away of the atom bomb. Then we can divert our energies toward the use of atomic energy for the benefit of mankind and the expenditure of government money for purposes that we all desire.

We can easily think in our own country of programs in the fields of health and education that can be carried forward. It would benefit the whole nation if we could curtail certain expenditures and use these funds for other purposes. We in the United States might conceivably carry our plans forward by requiring sacrifices on the part of certain groups in our nation. Other countries cannot even begin to consider expenditures leading to social reforms until peace is assured and their own safety guaranteed.

* * *

There is one art practiced in this city that we do not treat with quite the same respect. That is the art of cooking and eating.

It takes a Frenchman some time to order his dinner when he makes up his mind to go to a restaurant and pay what to him are horrible prices these days in Paris. He savors what he eats; therefore, there is good reason for being a chef here, because people take the time to appreciate your art.

In the daytime our food at the Palais de Chaillot, in the delegates' dining room and the brasserie, is very good, but I find myself so busy discussing problems that come up in our work that I sometimes hardly notice what is on my plate. In the evening, however, we have been going around visiting little French restaurants, some of which are able to cater to no more than 40 or 50 people. There are a few that are still fairly inexpensive, and they do serve delicious food. I am quite sure that if we knew how to cook as well as the French do, we could serve an even more superlative variety of dishes than we do now. We certainly have the necessary ingredients.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 5, 1948

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 June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.