Friday, February 28, 2014

Say, Don't I Know You?

More First Ladies Tales

It's surprising at the number of First Ladies who not only knew each other, but whose lives intertwined.  Eleanor Roosevelt and Lou Hoover played cards and entertained one another.  Lou Hoover and Grace Coolidge were close.  Grace called Lou '"Lily of the Valley" and Lou called her "Bleeding Heart" which sounds a trifle catty somehow...

During WW2 years, Edith Wilson and Mamie Eisenhower supported events for the Red Cross which had a new volunteer, a woman named Pat Nixon. 

Bess Truman organized Spanish lessons in the White House for her friends which included Mamie Eisenhower.  When asked by a reporter, if she'd learned to speak Spanish, Mamie replied, "Heavens, no!  We just talked!"

When the Trumans were moved to Blair House doing the rebuilding of the White House, Bess had to divide the traditional Congressional wives luncheon into several smaller groups.  Among the ladies in the A to F group was a new arrival to Washington named Betty Ford.  Despite Jerry Ford being a Republican, Betty enjoyed and admired Mrs. Truman.

Almost  exactly a year after Lady Bird gave birth to Lucy, her second daughter, Pat Nixon had Julie, her second daughter.  No word on whether baby gifts were exchanged. 

Eleanor Roosevelt and Edith Wilson were what today be called "frenemies."  They each respected the other, but Edith was stubbornly opposed to allowing her name to be linked to various of Mrs. Roosevelt's causes.

It's nice to read that these women had friendships with each other and often crossed party lines to do it.  Washington, DC, really is a small town in some ways.  Although there was no picket fence around the White House for them to chat over on Wash Day.

No comments: