I hope everyone spring is going well. I made the mistake of wearing a flannel shirt when I went into the city yesterday; it was by far the warmest day of the year so far and I was sweating profusely by the time I returned home. I suppose it’s time to put the heavier stuff away. Here is an image taken seventy-four Aprils ago when the weather was turning warm. Margaret “Daisy” Suckley took this photograph of President Roosevelt at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia days before his death. Roosevelt and his entourage–sans Eleanor, who remained in Washington–had arrived in Georgia in the last days of March just before Easter, which fell on April 1. Roosevelt essentially had gone to Warm Springs to die and surrounded himself with many of the people who meant the most to him, including Lucy Mercer Rutherford, the woman with whom he had had an affair during the First World War.
It is interesting how Roosevelt surrounded himself with a coterie of women who remained loyal to him for much of his life. Certainly he and Eleanor loved and remained loyal to each other in a complicated way that only they themselves could understand, if even they themselves did understand. Who among us can say they comprehend their own marriage, let alone what happens behind others’ closed doors? A reason she probably stayed in Washington was a sense that either the president or first lady should remain in the capitol with the war and so much else going on.
There in Warm Springs that long-ago April Roosevelt was surrounded in his final days by a woman he loved (Mercer) and a woman who loved him (Suckley). It was a complicated set of circumstances, not least because Roosevelt was aided in the whole thing by his daughter Anna.
(image/FDR Presidential Library)