There are certain people. You just like them, the very minute you meet them. The Good Apples, I like to call them.
Historically, there are a whole barrel of those good apples. And if I could fire-up the old Time Machine, I would jump on back and meet them too. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of those people, for me.
Today, happens to be the Anniversary of her marriage to Franklin Roosevelt, in 1905. Truth be told, their marriage pretty much sucked. They were fifth cousins, once removed. If you ask me, that was the beginning of the downward spiral.
But back to ELRO. That’s her “fab abbreviated” name… like JLo. Or A-Rod.
Eleanor was born a Roosevelt. In New York in 1884. She had a “rough” go of it, in her childhood. She lost her mother Anna to diphtheria when she was eight. Then…. her father, Elliot, died from alcoholism when she was 10 years old. Elliot was a brother of Theodore Roosevelt.
So, orphaned. And as a result of that…. little ELRO was raised by the extended Roosevelt family. THAT is when she met her future hubby, the lying, cheating, Franklin D. (She was just two years old and he was four when they first met.)
Over the years, they ran into one another pretty frequently. Like at dances and parties and such. They had a lot in common and became very close. I mean…they shared a last name, even.
They ended up getting married on St. Patrick’s Day in 1905. Former President & Rough Rider, Theodore Roosevelt, gave away the bride. How do you like them Apples?
Early on….Franklin pursued a career in politics. Eleanor raised four children (a fifth died in infancy). But she was pretty active in politics herself. She volunteered in civic organizations and worked for women’s suffrage before becoming first lady.
But. Their married life proved less than blissful. He had a wandering eye. And other things. Eventually, in 1918, Eleanor found out that Franklin was having an affair with her secretary, Lucy Mercer. ELRO said she was leaving. Frank’s Mom said… “Not so fast.” Yep… Frankie’s mother intervened and offered to support Eleanor financially if she would stay in the marriage.
So she did. Smart girl. You know… there is a game called “The Price Is Right.” I do believe that was the case this time.
After that, Eleanor and Franklin kept the “public face” of a married couple. But in that house of closed doors…. they lived as platonic partners.
In 1933, Franklin became President. She was pretty shy by nature, but Eleanor blossomed as she made public appearances on behalf of her husband. She also took on a variety of philanthropic activities. She promoted civil rights and humanitarian causes. And lots more. But more than anything, Franklin Roosevelt valued Eleanor’s intellect and viewpoint. In fact, he often consulted her on presidential matters. Madam President.
Franklin continued to have other affairs. Dude.
And then there is Eleanor. A married gal without a husband. So years after his infidelity, she probably found a new true love. There are plenty of indicators which point to her alleged lesbian love affair with a female reporter named Lorena Hickok. The two women exchanged letters brimming with sexual undertones. But way more than that, they were close friends, confidants, and mentors to one another. And then… in a 1940…Hickok moved into the White House. The East Wing, I suppose.
So yes. Today is the anniversary of Franklin and Eleanor. A marriage of question… but two pretty amazing people in their contributions to the world. And…. after FDR’s death in 1945, Eleanor stayed active in public service, becoming a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.
She died in 1962. I sure would like to go back and meet her.
She was…. a really Good Apple, indeed.
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. — Eleanor Roosevelt
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. — Eleanor Roosevelt
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. — Eleanor Roosevelt