FDR died in the arms of his mistress in Georgia while Eleanor smooched with her girlfriend in the White House.
By this time, a quarter century in politics had destroyed ALL of Eleanor’s five children. They suffered a triple whammy: failed multiple marriages, alcoholism and financial disasters. They blamed all their woes on her constant travel promoting the causes of civil rights and economic empowerment for the poor. Growing up, the kids felt abandoned by Eleanor for the causes and strangers she took to her bosom, something they NEVER experienced. It seems Eleanor could show love to the world, but not to her children.
The First Lady also had no problem sending some love to her lesbian paramour, AP reporter Lorena Hickok, who quit her job as White House correspondent to live in the White House with Eleanor. Before Lorena moved in, Eleanor sent her a mash note:
“My pictures are nearly all up and I have you in my sitting room where I can look at you most of my waking hours! I can’t kiss you so I kiss your picture good night and good morning… Most clearly I remember your eyes, with a kind of teasing smile in them, and the feeling of that soft spot just northeast of the corner of your mouth against my lips.”
The First Lady of the United States also shared a female lover with Marlene Dietrich: the globe trotting beauty Mercedes de Acosta. As Paula Froelich of “Page Six” would say: “You go, girls!”
Rosie O’Donnell is a polar opposite to Eleanor in her brand of parenting. Hollywood’s gay super mom is devoted to her kids first and foremost. Rosie gave up her movie career for a TV talk show to be close to and spend more time with her kids. The beloved star fearlessly and publicly married her love, Kelli Carpenter, in San Francisco. Shortly after, she quit her phenomenally successful talk show to be a full time parent to their 4 kids.
Rosie’s often said that, “Carol Brady was like a mother to me.” And her kids just might really turn out as happy and loved as the fictional Brady Bunch.
Eleanor Roosevelt never quite achieved this level of motherhood. But she did have a rough start in life. But so did Rosie, who didn’t have Teddy Roosevelt as an uncle nor a trust fund like Eleanor.
Rosie & Eleanor lost their mothers by the ages of 10 and 8 respectively. Both had emotionally distant dads. Eleanor’s father was a hopeless alcoholic who got committed to a mental institution and died there before her 10th birthday. Uncle Teddy, her father’s brother, loved her dearly but that didn’t save her from an unhappy and insecure childhood.
Rosie used the TV as a substitute mom. Eleanor looked to her teacher at an English boarding school for maternal interest. The young instructor gave her that and much more: an abiding interest in liberal causes and social justice. Lincoln once observed that, “Suffering examined can lead to great compassion.”
Eleanor & Rosie share a passion for civil rights, charity for all, and occasional bouts with depression. Dark clouds often plague those who lose a parent much too young. The empty space in one’s broken heart is never filled.
But these two certainly know that GIVING is love multiplied.
The patrician Eleanor did volunteer work with young immigrants, exposed harsh working conditions endured by women and children and tirelessly worked for civil rights for black Americans.
When Marian Anderson, the famed black opera singer got banned from performing in Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), because of her color, an indignant Eleanor swung into action. She quit the snobby, old establishment DAR, and arranged for the great diva to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a live audience of 70,000 and millions of radio listeners nationwide.
In her post White House years, she worked for the UN and fought long and hard to secure dignity and justice for all. Dubbed the First Lady of the World by Harry Truman, she earned the honor for her tireless travel to insure human rights in every corner of the world.
When she died in 1962 at age 78, she had attained secular sainthood. A commemorative cartoon simply showed two angels looking towards an opening in the clouds with the caption: “She’s here!”
Rosie’s no slouch either in her peripatetic social activism. She’s a fearless advocate of gay adoption. She “came out” about her sexuality to Diane Sawyer on “Primetime” solely to overturn negative feelings and state laws barring gays from adopting unwanted kids.
Marilyn Monroe might still be alive if she was brought up by two loving, encouraging gay adoptive parents instead of the heterosexual foster parents who abused her mentally, physically and sexually. They doomed her to a sad, self-destructive life.
“Gay” family values came through brilliantly on the recent HBO special: “Rosie O’Donnell’s Gay Family Cruise”. Love and encouragement and kindness are the ONLY FAMILY VALUES needed by kids. And no one should get an easy pass based on sexual orientation. It takes more than that!!
An interesting footnote on the gay cruise: the gay families totaled 1,500 people and then there were two straight, fat women. The chubby gals took the cruise so that, “We could wear our bathing suits and go in the pool in a judgment-free environment.” For shame, America.
Rosie’s charitable foundation For All Kids has raised $50 million to help kids and their families. She led the Million Mother March on the Capitol to draw attention to the need for gun control in America.
She took on the rich and powerful publishing world, and got herself in a heated battle to get out of “Rosie Magazine” because it didn’t reflect her values. After being threatened with financial ruin and standing her ground, it ended in a legal draw. She won.
When she finds the time, she takes on celebrities for their boorish behavior and penny-pinching ways. Like not opening their wall safes for a worthy charity like the 9/ll Relief Fund.
She’s never guilty of boring us for a second. We can’t wait to see and hear her in a new venue, Barbara Walter’s venerable TV talk show, “The View”.
Rosie, we’re with you a thousand percent in your fight for social justice. Now just go out there and cream Star Jones whenever you can!
(c)2006, Sistarrs International