Last night we drove over to Hyde Park to an open house at FDRs home in Hyde Park, NY. The ranger at the Vanderbuilt mansion that I visited last fall had mentioned that they decorate for Christmas and host this open house, so I made plans to go.
The house was HUGE, bigger then the Vanderbuilt's little shack down the road and MUCH bigger then TR's place at Sagamore Hill. Dark and ill-lit pictures were a booger, as you couldn't use your flash. But the cookies and punch were nice and they had an actor, dressed as FDR, reading from "A Christmas Carol" in the den. (To tell you the truth, the fella looked more like Truman than FDR, though! LOL!) It was interesting.
What most caught my attention, though was how there were 3 houses (plus the welcome center. PLUS the presidential library) The main house, which FDR grew up in and brought his bride home to and raised his children in. Top Cottage, where FDR entertained. And Valkille, which was where Elenore lived.
All that money, all that power and all that fame and those people couldn't even share a house as big as the mansion is. I think that is so incredibly sad.
At TR's house at Sagamore Hill they had to be tripping over each other at times. It's a large house, but they had 6 children, so Peace and privacy are harder to find. But the family seemed so happy there. They seemed like a real family.
Down the road in Hyde Park, Sarah Delano ruled that roost. FDR cheated on Eleanor (who by all accounts never felt that the mansion was really her "home" though she raised her children there) and then essentially bought her silence (the divorce she contemplated would have ruined his political career) and while they both went on to make valuable contributions to America and the world, how sad they must have been in their hearts. Why, Elinore's own children helped FDR s mistress visit him at his place in Warm Springs. Can you imagine a child betraying it's mother that way??
No, for all the remarkable history made by the couple from Hyde Park...for all their wealth and glory and fame....I still prefer cousin Teedy, with his crazy bunch of kids and long suffering but adoring wife Edith. Money definitely isn't everything you know!