Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: Remembering the Ladies

writer poet About Me Links Contact

Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

Remembering the Ladies

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We were in a hotel room in Austin when James Comey was testifying before Congress. We sat, mesmerized, but then realized our time in Austin was short and there would be coverage of Comey that we could catch up with later. So we went to the LBJ Library to learn, to remember, and to mourn the America we thought we lived in.

Of course, Vietnam, a war without popular support and without apparent rationale at any level, throws its shadow over the Johnson presidency. But, even with that, what he accomplished! Civil rights, voting rights, Medicare, Medicaid, the Office of Economic Opportunity, creation of HUD, the NEA, PBS, and VISTA, automobile safety, vocational education, and on and on—it’s an impressive list centered around education, the arts, civil rights, and what we now talk about as economic inequality. Basically whatever’s getting dismantled now can probably be traced back to then.

But what particularly grabbed me was an exhibit of pictures of each of the  country’s First Ladies. These pictures—either painted or photographed—were at some level “official” portraits, hung in official places and at some level selected and sanctioned enough so we can assume this is how each woman chose, or was comfortable with, being portrayed. It’s a fascinating collection. Here are my snap-shot impressions of some of the often surprisingly revealing portraits:
Martha Washington—looks as if she, like George, was conscious that “history has its eyes on (them)”. She looks dignified and--despite clothes that look ornate to us--modest and unpretentious.
Dolley’s got some cleavage!
Early 19th century Elizabeth Monroe’s portrait looks slightly 17th century Dutch, but her burgher husband would have to have been prosperous: she’s wearing black and crimson with ermine-trimmed sleeves. Angelica Van Buren also looks fortunate as she stands beside a bust of her husband.
By contrast Anna Harrison looks awful (terrible hat--call Aretha stat!) but she had good cause: her husband died 31 days after his inauguration. It’s said he died of pneumonia after catching a cold while giving the country’s longest inaugural address on a frigid March day without a hat, gloves, or overcoat. Anna, by contrast, was ill at home in Ohio and didn’t plan on moving to Washington until spring. Hmm.
John Tyler, of whom I know little, looks slightly unkempt, but both of his wives (at separate times) look kind of triumphant to be having official portraits done.
Sarah Polk looks moody in her Italian-Renaissance-looking portrait, while both Margaret Taylor and husband Zachary look like they come from hardy stock.
Jane Pierce looks as unembellished as her name. But Harriet Lane, James Buchanan’s niece appears ready to make the most of her time in the limelight, with flowers trailing from her hair to her waist. Mary Lincoln is a visual spoiler alert, looking sad, distracted, and haunted.
Frances Cleveland looks elegant, light falling on her amply exposed skin. Helen Taft looks imperious. Grace Coolidge, who, it turns out, taught at a school for the deaf, is stunning, posed in a red dress beside a white dog, a long gauzy wrap floating from her arm past trees to a distant White House.
Mamie Eisenhower’s portrait shocked me with its little girl pinkness—pink dress, pink gloves, pink bag—and a vague smile beneath those tiny bangs.
Jackie, too, was a surprise. In her portrait painted nearly a decade after she left the White House this most fashion-savvy of first ladies is wearing a long high-necked thing that looks like maybe a dressing gown for Dame Edna.
Lady Bird is also a surprise, radiant and beautiful as she looks directly at the camera. Pat Nixon, as one might expect, looks pained, sitting in her blue lace dress her hair a little too blond. And Rosalynn Carter, whom I think of as capable and outspoken, looks as if she’s made herself smaller for the picture with arms at her sides, hands in her lap, and a slightly upward look.
Barbara Bush looks In. Control.—confidant and at home—while Laura looks as if she’ll be glad to get back to Texas.
Hillary, looking very young, is posed between a chair and a small round able that holds a few items that could be White House mementos, slight poised between two worlds.
And Michelle—thoroughly modern Michelle with her strong bare arms and her decidedly non-matronly double strand of pearls—looks like tomorrow even though she is, sadly, yesterday.
The current First Lady’s portrait has not yet been hung.

Post a Comment


Blogger brindhaajay said...

Really a wonderful blog for the freshers who needs the information about this.
Its simply superb.
JAVA Training in Chennai
Selenium Training in Chennai
Java training institute in chennai
Best JAVA Training institute in Chennai
Selenium training institute in Chennai
Best selenium training in chennai
Java Training in T Nagar
selenium training in tambaram

January 28, 2019 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Aruna Ram said...

Turely well post!!! It was a wonderful concept that is very helpful to all readers. Your explanation style is too good. Thank you for your post with sharing.
Jmeter Training in Chennai
Jmeter Certification
TOEFL Coaching in Chennai
Ethical Hacking Course in Chennai
IELTS Coaching in Chennai
Spoken English Classes in Chennai
Jmeter Training in Porur
Jmeter Training in OMR

January 29, 2019 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger velraj said...

i was fully study this article and get more ideas from this article and in this article i know what to do to improve my skills..really thanks for the information.
Data Science Course in Chennai | Data Science Training in Chennai | Machine Learning Course in Chennai | Machine Learning Training in Chennai | DevOps certification in Chennai | Data Science Training in Velachery | Data Science Training in Tambaram

January 30, 2019 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger Kayal said...

I recently saw your article, It was really superb and I got more information about this topic. Thank you so much for your excellent post and I like more different kinds of ideas from your blog...
Html5 Training in Chennai
Html5 Courses in Chennai
Hadoop Admin Training in Chennai
Drupal Training in Chennai
Pega Training in Chennai
Photoshop Classes in Chennai
Html5 Training in OMR
Html5 Training in Porur

February 5, 2019 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger pavithra dass said...

I never saw the post like this. It is full of fruitful info. Keep sharing your views.
Software Testing Training in Chennai
Software Testing Course in Chennai
German Language Classes in Chennai
Big Data Course in Chennai
Advanced Java Training in Chennai
Software Testing Training in Adyar
Software Testing Training in Chennai

February 11, 2019 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger abhi pranesh said...

Great job done. Excellent post for the freshers. Keep updating it.
TOEFL Coaching in Chennai
TOEFL Coaching Centres in Chennai
German Courses in Chennai
Best IELTS Coaching in Chennai
learn Japanese in Chennai
spanish language classes in chennai
TOEFL Coaching in Anna Nagar
TOEFL Coaching in Tnagar

February 20, 2019 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Vicky Ram said...

Great article! Really very useful for developing my knowledge and I hope more valuable details
from your post. Thanks for your good job.

Article submission sites

March 21, 2019 at 3:13 AM  
Blogger Aparna said...

This post was very attractive and interesting. Currently, this content is very required for freshers. Kindly posting and sharing with us...
Oracle Training in Chennai
Oracle course in Chennai
Tableau Training in Chennai
Spark Training in Chennai
Excel Training in Chennai
Primavera Training in Chennai
Pega Training in Chennai
Unix Training in Chennai
Power BI Training in Chennai
Oracle DBA Training in Chennai

June 7, 2019 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Manipriyan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 1, 2019 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Data Science pune said...

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article. I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
Data Science Course in Pune
Data Science Training in Pune

July 9, 2020 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger TECHNOLOGY said...

Nice Post. Very informative Message and found a great post. Thank you.
Business Analytics Course in Pune
Business Analytics Training in Pune

July 10, 2020 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Programs said...

Nice blog. I finally found great post here Very interesting to read this article and very pleased to find this site. Great work!
Data Science Training in Pune
Data Science Course in Pune

July 10, 2020 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Cyber Security said...

Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job. It is the intent to provide valuable information and best practices, including an understanding of the regulatory process.
Cyber Security Course in Bangalore

July 22, 2020 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Cyber Security Course said...

Very nice blog and articles. I am really very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post.
Cyber Security Training in Bangalore

July 23, 2020 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Ethical Hacking in Bangalore said...

I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. Thanks for Sharing
Ethical Hacking in Bangalore

July 23, 2020 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Data Science Institute In Banglore said...

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article.
Best Data Science Courses in Bangalore

July 23, 2020 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger  Best Data Science Courses In Bangalore said...

Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites!
Best Data Science Courses in Bangalore

July 23, 2020 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Damien Grant said...

July 24, 2020 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Damien Grant said...

July 24, 2020 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Damien Grant said...

Very interesting blog. Many blogs I see these days do not really provide anything that attracts others, but believe me the way you interact is literally awesome.You can also check my articles as well.

Rowe Rowe
Rowe Rowe
Rowe Rowe
Rowe Rowe

Thank you..

July 24, 2020 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Ethical Hacking Course said...

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article.
Ethical Hacking Course in Bangalore

July 24, 2020 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Ethical Hacking Training said...

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.
Ethical Hacking Training in Bangalore

July 24, 2020 at 3:36 AM  
Blogger DataScience Datascience said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own Blog Engine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.
Data Science Course in Bangalore

July 24, 2020 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger DataScience Datascience said...

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
Data Science Training in Bangalore

July 24, 2020 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Data Science Courses said...

Cool stuff you have and you keep overhaul every one of us.

Data Science Course

July 27, 2020 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Theverge said...

July 28, 2020 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Theverge said...

July 28, 2020 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger swaroop said...

Well Said, you have furnished the right information that will be useful to anyone at all time. Thanks for sharing your Ideas.

Web Designing Training in Chennai

Web Designing Course in Chennai

Web Designing Training in Bangalore

Web Designing Course in Bangalore

Web Designing Training in Hyderabad

Web Designing Course in Hyderabad

Web Designing Training in Coimbatore

Web Designing Training

Web Designing Online Training

August 4, 2020 at 6:36 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home