I was born during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidency. Indeed, I was well on my way to being a teenager without knowing any other President. I remember thinking when he died that I did not really know what it was like having anyone else as President. Eleanor was not in the spotlight much and she was always around and definitely – a presence.
- As a child, I was always impressed with her strength, her intelligence, her activism, her grace, and her wisdom.
- As an adult, long after she is gone, I have been even more impressed with her wisdom and how much it influenced my life and the life of this country.
- Many of the ideals that are under siege right now in this current presidency were introduced and implemented by the Roosevelt’s, and Eleanor, behind the scenes, had a great deal to do with the progress that was made during those years.
One of my most cherished moments in this life was actually hearing her speak at Union Theological Seminary when I was there, meeting her and chatting with her for a bit.
I am not much of a celebrity worshipper and having chatted with many celebrities, she is the one I cherish the most.
In doing the Women Who Do Too Much Page-A-Day calendar for many years, one of my favorite joys is researching quotes by women. I always look for quotes from a wide range of women. Early on, I decided that I would not use any quotes by men. We hear men quoted all the time. (Remember the old saying, “Anonymous was a woman?!”) Well, I wanted only quotes by women as a breath of fresh air. For my first calendar, I unearthed almost 1,000 quotes I really wanted to use. I was having so much fun with these quotes that I just did not want to stop. I was shocked with how often women were NOT quoted when they had been saying such great things for thousands of years. The “new” book, The Quotable Women was a great help to me early on with the calendar.
I questioned why, when women had been saying such great things for so long, were we always quoting men? As I named the current dominant system in which we live the “White Male System,” I began to see that the overwhelming majority of quotes were from white males and were being used to shore up and perpetuate that system and that way of thinking. (I later saw that that system functioned exactly like an active addict – see When Society Becomes an Addict). I also termed this dominant system a Technological, Mechanistic, Materialistic System in my book Living in Process. Whatever we call this system, it is not only destroying the human race, it is destroying the entire planet. And, part of the reason for this destruction is that women, Native people, People of Color and the oppressed (including those of varying sexual identities), have not been allowed to and have not taken enough responsibility to shape the dominant culture.
Thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt and her books – experiencing her and her life as I did while I was growing up – and finding my native roots, I have been helped to see clearly that there is “another way” and that this “other way” can and will be able to save humanity, and all life on this planet if we are willing to change, do the work required, and find other ways of being with ourselves, one another, and all life on this planet.
For me, Eleanor Roosevelt helped point the way to a young girl who knew that something else was possible and since then has spent her life devoted to facilitating healing, growing, and learning on all levels so that the human race can and will become what it can be living on this amazing planet.
Thank you Eleanor for being one of my major beacons that lighted the way through a growing darkness. I celebrate and cherish your life and your words.