Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Little White House

FDR had a summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia. As one might expect, there are servant’s quarters, a guesthouse, luscious mountain scenery, a fine verandah, and sentry posts that were manned by Marines. Three Marines watched over Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his guests. That’s all. Huh.

The main house has six small rooms, darkly paneled, and humbly furnished. The only piece I coveted was an excellent cook’s table because of its sensible size. The icebox was on a little porch and the pantry displayed mismatched china and silverware. The two-roomed guesthouse is in the same rustic style with more of the gloomy dark pine paneling. The cook had a room over the garage, and so did a married couple who traveled with President Roosevelt.

He had his fatal stroke while posing for a portrait in the “Little White House.” The painter, Elizabeth Shoumatoff, her easel, FDR, and Lucy Page Mercer, who was visiting that day, must have been crowded in that small sitting room. (Eleanor wasn’t there, but then she seldom visited the house in Warm Springs.)

After my tour of the museum and house, I went to the gift shop, of course. I bought two soup mugs for my brother Peter and I. They are printed with acronyms for programs that got started during the New Deal: CCC, FCC, FDIC, FERA, FTC, NLB, NRA (National Recovery Administration, not the rifle NRA) REA, SEC, SSB, TVA, and WPA. Whew! My new mugs have the full titles of the programs listed, too, and let me tell you, it’s an impressive list. Maybe you’d like to read about them. Just Google and they’ll be there. I’ve always thought well of FDR, but after visiting his summerhouse in rural Georgia, I love him.

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