Eleanor, Franklin, Sara, Lucy, and Daisy
There was, however, a very large print of a painting in our den. It was the unfinished portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my parents' hero, in the place where an ancestor's portrait might normally be found.
When I was thirteen, the play "Sunrise at Campbell" starring Ralph Bellamy tried out in Philadelphia before opening on Broadway. I did not come from a family that patronized the arts at all; yet, that year my father purchased tickets for the whole family, including my sister's fiance, to attend a performance. My father read Roosevelt biographies, and so did I when I got old enough. I've read every one I could get my hands on, and have seen all of the movies and PBS specials on the Roosevelts. I felt duty-bound; in some odd way, it seemed this was my own family I was learning about. I also was captivated by their story.
Joe and I have talked for a few years about taking a little trip up to Hyde Park and this past week we did just that. On Friday we toured Springwood, his boyhood home, and spent a long, long time going through the Presidential Library. We attended the film at the Visitors' Center and wandered around there. With another couple, we took a shuttle to Top Cottage, the private retreat FDR had built for himself as a place to get away from everything. Our guide there was very knowledgable and let the four of us show him what we wanted to learn about. On Saturday morning we had a private tour of Eleanor's retreat Val-Kill and the Stone Cottage.
Everywhere I looked, there were reminders of the home where I grew up. I was fascinated to note a "what not" shelf on the wall at Val-Kill that was identical to one my mother had in her home, and intrigued to see that Eleanor had the same china pattern as my sister.
Later on Saturday morning, Joe wanted to tour the Vanderbilt mansion nearby. I urged him to do that, though I chose to wait in the shady parking lot with my sewing, reflecting on all we had seen. I had come to be immersed in the Roosevelt story, and didn't want to confuse myself.