On the pleasanter side, I received an invitation to tea with President Roosevelt. This, of course, was a command. I bought a hat. I had a dress. Charles and I had the car at the White House gate five minutes early. We waited. Watching the clock. With one minute to spare we drove in. The door of the car was opened by someone. I got out in a daze of excitement. The front door of the White House opened. There, as I remember it, and up about three steps stood a man in a morning suit. I went forward with my hand out — better friendly than formal.
“I am the usher,” he said.
So I said, “Well,” and not altering my outstretched hand, “how do you do.”
He smiled. I followed him to a small room — a very small room. Rather long for its width, it seems to me now. And I was told that President Roosevelt would be in in a few minutes.
He came in. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me if he was or was not in a wheelchair. I think that he was on crutches and had an aide with him — who left the minute we were settled. No matter. There he was. That powerful and fascinating personality. Said he was sorry not to see me in the play. But that he had seen several of my movies. And that he wanted me to consider doing a short movie of Kipling’s — I can’t remember the name — which had always been a favorite of his… What a charmer. Warm. Funny. He told me about campaigning for Liberty Bonds in the First World War. And waxing so enthusiastic that he fell off the chair he was standing on and landed right in Marie Dressler’s lap. The whole visit was fun. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a man of great charm and he had the gift of laughter. And a great gift it is. It lightens the load.
Katharine Hepburn [Me: Stories of my Life]