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

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NEW YORK.—Sunday and Monday in Hyde Park were fairly busy days for me. Sunday afternoon I had the tea that I hold every year for my neighbors, many of whom are members of the Roosevelt Home Club and have long shown their continuing interest in my husband's memory.

On Monday at 11:30 a.m. there was the dedication of a plaque at the Hyde Park Town Hall to my husband. And at the same time one was dedicated to Moses Smith, an old-time friend of my husband and one of the best-loved citizens in the Hyde Park township who died in the past year.

This only took a few minutes and then I went back to my cottage to greet the out-of-town guests who had come for a buffet luncheon before the ceremonies in the Rose Garden. This is an annual Memorial Day service that takes place at 2 p.m. as a memorial to my husband and to all those who died in the war. Representative Richard Bolling of Missouri spoke at the ceremony and in the evening the Roosevelt Home Club held a dinner at which my son James spoke.

My son John and his wife had had to go down to New York City on Monday afternoon because the schools were still in session on Tuesday and Wednesday for the children, and I managed to leave also for New York early on Tuesday, since I had a full day's work to do.

The vote in the United Nations to condemn the United States for the U-2 spy flight went against the Soviet Union, as expected, and brought the expected threat from the Soviet Foreign Minister that our spy policy might lead to war.

The President's calm and reasonable speech apparently meant nothing to the Soviet Union. They interpreted it as a statement of "the imperialistic foreign policy line of the U.S." Just how this speech could have been taken to mean this by the Russian representatives is difficult to understand.

We are seeing more and more, I fear, how a country that wants to believe certain things can make itself believe them. And there is no doubt that, for some reason we do not know anything about, there is a change in the spoken policy of the Soviet Union. Whether this means a real change one cannot possibly tell.

I have a letter from the National Recreation Association which I think touches on a subject we should be giving a great deal of thought to. The executive director, Mr. Joseph Prendergast, writes, "In these days of the warmed-up cold war it may seem almost frivolous to mention again the fact that one of the big problems facing Americans is the wise use of their new and increasing leisure."

I do not think it is frivolous at all, since this is one of the grave problems before us that we must face. With automation it will probably be necessary for men to develop the appreciation and the ability to use craft work of different kinds as a method of expressing their own creative desires.

For this they must have preparation during their school years, which will produce respect for handwork and taste. This means a greater knowledge of the arts. In other words, we must open new doors to appreciation which at one time were open only to people of wealth and now should be open to every man, woman and child in our country.

The National Recreation Association sponsors the observance of a month in which citizens are given special opportunities to discover the wide range of creative and constructive leisure-time activities that are available to them. This organization deserves the support of all American citizens.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 1, 1960

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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.