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Liveblogging World War II: June 23, 1943

Eleanor Roosevelt:

HYDE PARK, Tuesday—As I came out of our gate on Sunday, I was interested to see quite a group of young people on bicycles. That is reminiscent of Europe. It may be that the shortage of gasoline will start our young people really travelling by bicycle. I know of few better ways of seeing the country if you do not try to cover too much territory.

In the Lake District of Great Britain every year in the holidays, you can see young people bicycling in groups, staying in the most inexpensive inns, revelling in the scenery, seeing houses where great poets lived, and getting an idea of the scenes which inspired some of their poems. We are becoming old enough in this country to provide enough places of historical interest in small areas for people to take either bicycling or walking trips. Motoring has developed wayside cottages which could be used as well for bicycle tourists, as they once were for motor tourists.

If every one who could went on bicycling and walking trips, it might keep some of the places which are now hard hit by the lack of gasoline from going under completely. Their prices will have to remain low, but at least it might tide them over the present lack of paying guests.

The soldiers in the military police school up here are getting a taste of all the "joys" of life in the jungle. I see them every now and then out in the woods with improvised defenses against the mosquitoes, and I am sure they will be well seasoned for any part of the world where they may have to fight this particular kind of pest. Between our rocky ridges in the woods, there are innumerable little damp bogs. No amount of draining ever seems to get them dry and they breed the nicest and fattest mosquitoes. I long ago gave up riding in the woods in July and August, and take to the duller pasture woods and fields as soon as the flies and mosquitoes appear. Walking in the woods in summer is always a double amount of exercise, because you have to use your arms quite constantly to keep the mosquitoes away. I should not malign our part of the country, however, for I have seen mosquitoes far worse in other places, and I look upon them here as just as one of the less pleasant manifestations of summer life.

The domestic scene, as you listen to the radio and read the papers today, is anything but encouraging and one would like not to think about it, because it gives one a feeling that, as a whole, we are not really prepared for democracy. We might even fall into the same excesses that some other people whom we look down upon have fallen into, for we do not seem to have learned self-control and obedience to law as yet.