Eleanor Roosevelt – My Day: July 8-14

July 10, 1956

“NEW YORK—In spite of gray skies, we decided to have the Wiltwyck School picnic Saturday morning.

It was not actually raining, as it was on Thursday and Friday, and we hoped it would hold off until after the children had at least eaten their picnic lunch, as they then could go over to the library. Only once before have we had the picnic when it rained, and then we fed the children under every shelter we could find, not having any rooms big enough to hold them all.

Now there are more boys in the school than there were then, and while some 30 had gone home because of the delays, we still had between 125 and 130 which, together with our own family and guests, brought the gathering up to well over 150 people who had to be served.

As a rule, after they have eaten—and these youngsters really eat—they sit under the trees and I read them a story. At their request, it is usually the same one, Kipling’s “How the Elephant Got His Trunk.” The boys who have been there before tell the new boys, and they want to be proved correct, so they demand the same story and practically the same food.

Hot dogs usually run two to three apiece and some boys have been known to eat four. This year I gave them potato chips instead of macaroni, because I thought it would be easier to manage. They always have corn on the cob, which we put in our deep freeze every season, planning ahead for the picnic of the coming year.

Two kinds of salads—potato and vegetable—and then ice cream and cupcakes, with at least two helpings all around, with gallons of milk and coffee for the grownups, are on the menu from year to year.

Then we have games, for which little bundles of lollipops are the prizes. Then they go over to visit the Memorial Library.

That ends the day’s outing for the boys, but I know it means a good deal to them, for whenever I see them during the year, they ask me if we are going to have the picnic when summer comes.”

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