â€œOnce I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: “No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.â€
â€• Eleanor Roosevelt
For years I was baffled and somewhat bored when a celebrity was asked whom he or she would have liked to have known or spoken with and the response quickly uttered was, â€œEleanor Roosevelt.â€ It seemed not only a clichÃ©d answer, but also one that suggested an intellectual knowing absent in other parts of that celebrityâ€™s life. I humbly regret my previous judgments and ask forgiveness.
The more I read about Mrs. Roosevelt, the more I fantasize about an evening, or even the shortest of conversations, with her. I know I would make a fool of myself by hanging on her every explanation, staring rudely just because I was awe-struck, and delighting in her observations. Iâ€™d probably laugh with an embarrassing snort and then cover my face in horror when she tossed zingers like the above quote my way. I can be quite the dork when I’m smitten.
In a world filled with women trying to hide perceived flaws and/or airbrush away the uniqueness that is theirs alone, Eleanor stood tall both literally (5â€™ 11â€), and figuratively. Born of an addiction addled father and a beautiful debutante mother, she was orphaned before the age of ten. Often a childhood budding under these circumstances dies on the vine and the person takes on a victim status. Not Eleanor. Stories of her open heart and steely perseverance leave me breathless and inspired. How did she do it?
Given her ups and downs, successes and disappointments, I would love to ask who her role models were. What touchstone(s) guided her through the dark days of war, betrayal, a controlling mother-in-law, and loss? What spirit(s) guided her light, her essence, which she shared selflessly with so many? And where did that fabulous sense of humor come from?
I have many, many, questions and unending respect for Eleanor, a woman who could have chosen a much different life path, but selected the one suited to her disposition. Some historians have described her as a plain, even homely, woman. I can only surmise their measuring stick was warped, or their standards flawed. No way, no how, was Eleanor Roosevelt anything but exquisitely beautiful in body and soul.
â€œDo not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.â€
â€• Eleanor Roosevelt