Today should be a national holiday. The best first lady ever to reside in the White House came into the world on Oct. 11, 1884.

Why is Eleanor Roosevelt called the best? See how well the others measure up to this:

She was the first president's wife to hold a news conference; she worked on a homestead project for coal miners in West Virginia; she began a newspaper column called "My Day," which she maintained for more than two decades; visited sharecropper homes in the South; promoted integration and better race relations long before other political leaders, including FDR; visited our service members in the South Pacific to boost morale during World War II; chaired the new Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1946; urged our recognition of the new state of Israel; gave many radio talks on human rights; was appointed U.S. delegate to the United Nations by President Kennedy; and was once referred to as first lady of the world by President Truman -- an above-average resume, true?

Though Dolly Madison, Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan were prominent, they never approached Eleanor's energetic accomplishments. You might note we don't honor any woman with a holiday. Only a generic Mother's Day (which falls on Sunday -- our day off anyway!)

Oct. 11, Eleanor's Day: A fitting tribute to an outstanding American lady.

ENCINAL HALL: Gary Fonda, an Encinal High grad and former Hall of Fame chair (January 1959), has informed us that another Encinal High School Hall of Fame dinner is scheduled for the evening of Nov. 2. The last one this writer attended was four years ago, when every seat seemed taken at tables that filled the school's gym. And I'm still impressed at the number of outstanding athletes there. Not only were there past Jet stars such as Eric Shelton, Sidney Lane, Bob Miranda and Robert Earl Davis plus others too numerous to mention, but there were several from Alameda High, also. Ex-Hornets spotted included Eric Cross, Luther Lane and Franklin Carrol.


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How good were those attending? Former baseball Hall of Fame member Willie Stargell once claimed Robert Earl Davis was the best player on his Encinal team, which also included Tommy Harper and Curtell Motton. Bob Miranda broke Santa Clara University's rushing record with 2,700-plus yards in his three years of football there.

And Eric Cross once returned a punt for 52 yards in Stanford's Rose Bowl win over Ohio State. The run set up Stanford's go-ahead touchdown in that game. The third Lane brother, MacArthur, was there, too. Football fans may recall he was part of a Green Bay Packer dream backfield back in the early 1970s. To make reservations, contact Theresa Tenorio at Encinal High School or EHS Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame, 1304 East Shore Drive, Alameda, CA 94501.

Finally, we echo the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: do not let anyone tell you "no" who doesn't have the power to say "yes." And no one can make you inferior unless you let them.

Contact Joe King at alamedanews@bayareanewsgroup.com.