To me the house has a certain "Dutch" look about it. There is a movie about the place and FDR, Sunrise at Campobello It is a tale of an individual overcoming difficult circumstances to achieve greatness. An inspiring story.
Here is Neal's commentary from today:
Today was tea with Eleanor in the Hubbard House. An excellent event featuring two older women who were exceptionally well versed in their subject, Eleanor Roosevelt. It was a most interesting two hours, highlighted by an excellent tea and cookies made on site by the staff of the park.Regards — Cliff
Did I mention the Roosevelt estate is the only international park in the entire world? It is funded and operated coequally by the US and Canada and the grounds are spectacular. Actually….the Roosevelt summer home was purchased by Armand Hammar and his wife….stipulating that Eleanor could come stay anytime she wanted…and for as long as she wanted.
The thing is, Eleanor was above all else, a true humanitarian…..and FDR took much of his cue from her. I will never be a liberal or a full fan of FDR, but the thing is he did things that in the context of the time and the conditions, they were precisely the right things to do. Yes, they were over the top in many cases…..but….unlike today…..things were really tough in those years…..and he gave folks not only hope…but a means by which to realize it. The CCC and the WPA were reviled by many “elites” of the day, but just imagine how many lives were actually rescued by the existence of those programs…..the products of which stand today as monuments to their excellence of effort.
Eleanor was never even in the slightest bit an egocentric. She put herself last in every instance, and in every instance, she was flawlessly mannered and an elegant lady to the very last breath. She arrived in the marriage to her cousin Franklin with a completely damaged self esteem, her mother having told her when just a young girl that she was absolutely ugly. Her grandmother reinforced her shyness by telling her that since she was not very smart or beautiful, she had better have impeccable manners.
I think much could be learned by people today from the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. She had many very intense, deep seated fears such as flying, water travel, and even public appearances……and yet she never let them deter her in the slightest, even going up in an airplane with Amelia Earhart one grand evening in DC, after a WH dinner….both dressed in ball gowns. She knew full well that the KKK had placed a $35k bounty on her……dead…..and yet she traveled into the mouth of the dragon and defied their hatred with seeming impunity. She believed that everyone was put on this earth for a purpose….and that they had value…..period.
As I said, I’ll never be an ardent fan of FDR, but I will enthusiastically cheer the many GOOD things he did or set in motion….and will caveat it only to the extent that his great accomplishments were great because they met the needs of the time…in the context of that point in American history. But, times change and context changes…..and it is folly to insist that those programs continue on without change. America needs to learn that important lesson.
So…it was a good day at Campobello…and the gardens were spectacular once again. Early this morning….at sunrise (really), I had the pleasure of chit chatting with the maintenance folks who make the park so wonderful. What an incredibly nice bunch….and each so very knowledgeable about their particular contribution. It was a nice way to welcome the day.