I Miss Eleanor Roosevelt Tonight
Isn't there a German phrase that means homesickness for a place you've never been? I miss Eleanor Roosevelt tonight. Her column, "My Day" appeared in hundreds of newspapers and apparently Max Gaines (father of William Gaines, later to become publisher of EC and MAD) wrote her and asked if she would like to write something for the comics. It was a young medium with a lot of chutzpah. She turned him down, but sent this statement instead.
She visited Appalachia and paid attention to what the children were wearing. She shook hands with a black man. When she inspected hospitals during the war, she spent a 12 hour day and visited with every wounded soldier. She visited prisons. Once when she was at a federal penitentary in Baltimore, FDR asked where Eleanor was. “She’s in prison,” he was told. “I’m not surprised,” FDR said. “But what for?”
In 1958, when she was 74, the Ku Klux Klan announced a $25,000 bounty on her head. She'd been invited to teach non-violent civil disobedience for a civil-rights workshop at a school in Tennessee. There was no Secret Service or police escort, and the FBI told her they couldn't protect her. So she and another old white lady, aged 71, drove through the night with a loaded pistol on the car seat between them. There are times when you can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. This wasn't just FDR's widow, this was Theodore Roosevelt's niece, after all, and hadn't she told the children to train themselves in honesty, self reliance, and the ability to meet any situation?
Max Gaines died in 1947 in a boating accident. He was credited with saving a boy's life when he threw his friend's son behind him just as they were struck by another boat.