Cover of LIFE, 1939

Cover of LIFE, 1939

When I was a kid growing up,
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT was referred to as if she were some kind of Saint.

It would be years before I would learn of her intimate relationship with LORENA HICKOK (“HICK,” as she was called), and her place in LGBT Culture.
But my childhood memories are of her Words as revered.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
“Women are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.”
“The future belongs to those who believe in the Beauty of their Dreams.”

I am a sort of a Baby Boomer, born late in that Game — after World War II, and into the Sixties — but I never understood this idea of a First Lady Leading and being the Mother of a Nation.
Our Presidents were all Men, after all.
From whom was I to get some context for this?
The reprehensibly Out-Of-Touch NANCY REAGAN?
As TONY KUSHNER called her, ‘The Understandably Heavily Medicated LAURA BUSH’???

This Past Week, I understood what all of the Fuss was about.
A Nation in Pain.
A Nation So Desperately in Need of Healing.
A Nation in need of a Woman
to Care and Mother and Heal…

I think she is my single Favorite AMERICAN!
She is Beautiful in Every Way!
She is Intelligent and Graceful and Truly epitomizes what it is to be a First Lady.

Whatever your Party and However you may be Considering Voting,
Would you consider Dropping any PreConceived Notions you may have, and watching what she said in New Hampshire a few days ago:

If, you are like me, and this election is driving you Nuts and you’ve had enough, allow the Words of this Wise and Beautiful Woman to wash over you,
Like Cooling Water after a too-long walk through the Desert.

I now Understand what all the Fuss is About.
I now understand that there are certain things for which a Country needs a Mother
To Care for it
And Nurse it back to Health when it is sick
To Heal
To Quell its Pain…

My friends from High School still laugh about our Freshman Year in SISTER FRANCES SABARA’s Biology Class.
The first day of Class, SISTER SABARA went around the room asking each of us what we would like to be when we grow up.
My answer: “I’d like to be a Black Woman, Sister.”
It was a Biology Class
and she was a Biology Teacher.
Needless to say, my answer caused quite a stir.

But having seen the Person that MICHELLE OBAMA is,
I now see Everything I have ever wanted to be, personified.
And it occurs to me, that that day at the start of my Freshman Year of High School, I might have been having a prescient moment.
If there is a Person I would most like to be, it is she.
At Last, almost a half century after the Quotes of ELEANOR ROOSEVELT adorned samplers in so many homes I saw as a child,
I understand how Powerfully Healing for a Nation the Words of a First Lady can Be.
“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
“Courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
“I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this and I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.”
“Strong men — Strong men — Men who are truly role models — don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”
“When they go Low, we go High!”

MICHELLE OBAMA with Students at Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, Photo from Business Insider

MICHELLE OBAMA with Students at Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, Photo from Business Insider

I am So Grateful to have Lived into a Time with MICHELLE OBAMA as my First Lady of the United States of America!
And I am Grateful for our Children who can look up to her as a Role Model.
I have to go and Needlepoint a Sampler Now…

# # #

Leave a comment


  1. Janet McIntosh

     /  October 20, 2016

    Well said, Arnold. How is that sampler coming??

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. As it does in every gathering, even here in Canada, the U.S. election hit the conversation floor like a train wreck. But there was a flower in the middle of it all, and you’ve written about her beautifully, Arnold. What a stunning woman and role model.


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