Today in My History

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Table Ballet and Tom Kha Gai

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"White Houses"

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16 April, 2018

Tonight we are going to the start of a Hitchcock film series.  I've never seen Saboteur so it should be interesting.  Robert Cummings is the star and apparently Hitchcock was not happy with him--thought he looked like the comedy star he was noted for and not enough like a drama actor.

But I thought this big of trivia from ImDB was interesting: 

Alfred Hitchcock's original director's cameo was cut by order of the censors. He and his secretary played deaf-mute pedestrians. When Hitch's character made an apparently indecent proposal to her in sign language, she slapped his face. A more conventional cameo in front of a drugstore was substituted.

Every so often I find it remarkable how history seems to go in circles and the more you read, the more you discover that every generation has its awful points.  It's just that this particular point in time seems to be more awful than others.  But is it?

I just finished reading "White Houses," which is the fictionalized version of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lenora Hickok, a relationship which lasted for some 7 years, while Hickok lived in the White House.  The author stresses that it is a novel, but it is based on a lot of history that I have both watched and read and it's like she just fills in the dialog and situations she imagines took place while the women were following what is an historical time line.

At the same time I was watching a PBS special on the Kennedy Dynasty and Ken Burns' intimate portrait of the Roosevelts.  While nothing really compares with what we see today, there are scandals and scares a-plenty.  Knowing we weathered them gives some slim hope that they will survive this administration too. (Though I still want to come back in 50 years and read a history book for this time period.)

 I have a special warmth in my heart for Eleanor because she kept a published daily journal from 1936 to 1962.  I have a few years to go to match that record.  Of course she had more interesting days, most days.  They are all, wonderfully, reprinted on line.  (She may have been the very first on-line blogger!)

I checked what her entry was for this date in 1943 (when I was two months old) and found this interesting (I particularly liked it because I think the Jefferson Memorial is my favorite DC memorial)

Yesterday morning we attended the dedication of the Jefferson Memorial. It is beginning to look very beautiful and someday, when the cherry trees around it bloom in great profusion, people will forget that we were ever afraid of spoiling the landscape around the Basin. It was my first glimpse of the statue, because the day that I had walked over and read the inscriptions on the inside walls of the building, the statue was not in place.

Today it was silhouetted against the skyline and the effect was very impressive. I like very much the President's emphasis on the fact, that it was Jefferson and his generation which could be easily understood by this generation. Both loved peace and freedom and found they had to fight to preserve the freedom they loved.

It is not only in war, however, that we fight for freedom. One fights for freedom in personal contacts and in many phases of civilian life. When the war is over, the four freedoms will not have been won, we shall simply have dominated their more aggressive enemies. At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want— for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war.

We are very far in this country from actually facing what the four freedoms mean in our day-by-day actions. If we really live up to them, there are many little habits and customs that we have allowed to grow up among us, which will have to go by the board.

And we haven't changed much since then, have we???  In fact, we are, perhaps, worse off than we were in 1943.  That's pretty depressing to think that in my entire life we have not made permanent progress in terms of the four freedoms.

The next day after a dinner with a group called "the Friends of German Freedom," she wrote:

In many of these countries, the only non-Fascist organization that will exist when the war comes to an end, will be whatever leaders or organizations have been kept alive within the labor group. I think it is important that we, in this country, do all we possibly can to recognize these groups and to strengthen them now and in the future.

In every Axis country, there will undoubtedly be people awaiting the United Nations at the end of the war, who have experience in running industry and large scale agriculture, and who have been active during the past few years because of their willingness not to protest against Fascist control. They may sometimes seem to be the only available material for organization, unless we make it a point to look for those who have led labor in the past.

Since this is to be the century of the common man, there must be a partnership between those who work with their hands and those who work with their heads. They must all insist on their common interest because they are the workers of the world. They are the mass of people who must control their governments in order to have a chance to build a better life throughout the world.

There is no real cleavage between the intellectual and manual contribution, if in both cases the dignity of labor well done is the badge of glory. There is no reason why the workers as a whole cannot join hands in every nation and understand each other and make the future a time of greater opportunity.

Yeah...well we see how well that is working out.


Where did we go wrong?  Our granddaughter is a Dodgers fan!

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