Historic Presentations  ›  My Day: Eleanor Roosevelt Chronicles Life and Work in the White House


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"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt

January 4, 1937


WASHINGTON, Sunday—I said goodbye to Franklin, Junior on Friday afternoon and took the five o'clock train to New York, expecting to have a chance to see a friend that evening. I went from the station straight to her apartment and rang the bell. After a long time the door was opened and I discovered that she expected me at five-thirty and being very weary she had gone to bed thinking that something strange had happened to me because as she said "You usually let people know when you change your mind." Needless to say I did not keep her up for long but went on to my own abode.

On Saturday morning I hurried through a few errands and Mrs. Scheider and I took the twelve-thirty train for Washington. Johnnie and Betsey, James' wife, met me at the station and as we drove up they told me funny little incidents about the grandchildren. Chandler, Elliott's little girl not quite three, seems to have an independent spirit and at six a.m. one day the night watchman in the White House picked her up in the basement where she was wandering around unconcernedly in her night clothes. He took her to the third floor, knocked on the first door he came to which happened to be little Kate's room and said to her nurse: "Does this belong to you? I found it in the basement," pointing at Chandler under his arm. She had waked up in the room next to her father and mother and finding no one to entertain her, had finally walked out to explore the world by herself. Since then she has had no further adventures and this one of course, filled all the boys with glee.

At the door of the White House the usher greeted me carrying the little card plaque on which I seat the dinners. I laughed and said: "Must I do that before I take off my hat?", and Johnnie cheerfully said: "I'll seat the table for you!" After greeting everyone in the house, I fell rapidly into the usual routine, seated the table for dinner, started to go through the mail on my desk and then decided to look at my Christmas presents!

On nights of big receptions we have to dine at seven o'clock as the reception begins at nine. My son Elliott and his wife had two young couples from Fort Worth, Dr. and Mrs. Violette and Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy staying with them so it made us quite a party. Our children wanted to hear all the introductions last night so they lined up behind us during the Diplomatic Reception and I think some of the Diplomats must have wondered who the very tall boys with the two charming but rather diminutive ladies were. I felt that it needed only a few grandchildren peeping out from behind the palms to make the family picture complete! I remember well the time that my own small children hid behind the screen at a large dinner party in their night clothes and crawled out across the hall in full view after we were in the dining room!

E.R.

Copyright, 1937, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


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Eleanor Roosevelt. White House Collection



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