Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, as summer started to heat up the country, we took a road trip to Massachusetts and upper New York State.  One of our stops was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s house in Hyde Park, New York, which has been on my “must see” list for a while.  The estate, which encompasses a mile of woodland, is idyllic, dreamy–high above the Hudson River.

View from FDR’s Bedroom

The mansion, originally bought by James Roosevelt, was renovated by his son, Franklin (FDR), who would become the only man to be elected three times to the office of President of the United States.  As the park ranger described FDR’s projects to expand and modernize the house, Franklin’s personality and political philosophy loomed large.  His dream, his vision of America added another dimension to our visit and this post.

Visitors at FDR’s House, Side View.

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin was an only child, born to the privileged Delano and Roosevelt families.  He could have easily had a quiet, insular life, filled with luxury, but FDR was committed to public service.  A maverick, an individualist, he developed a political philosophy shaped by his life experience, his battle with polio, and his commitment to people from all strata of society.  This put him at odds with some members of his family and his contemporaries.  On our tour, the park ranger explained how FDR, in his inimical style, installed twin antique canons on his front porch to “defend” his home from neighboring Republicans.

FDR’s Philosophy. FDR Museum, Hyde Park, NY

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.~Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR and his family lived in this home before he donated it to the American people as a national monument, museum, and library.  All its contents were selected and arranged by the Roosevelts–down to the magazines on the coffee table and the pictures on the wall.

I loved all the wonderful details in their home…the photos, the furniture, the toys, the clothing–all preserved since the last day the Roosevelts occupied the house.  As you can see in the photo, the house was crammed with memorabilia.  FDR, a collector of political cartoons, stamps, coins, and butterflies, put many of his collections on display in the home and museum.

Sitting Room, FDR Home, Hyde Park, NY

We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions-bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.~Franklin D. Roosevelt

The bedrooms were on the second floor, accessed by a steep, winding staircase.  FDR, whose legs were paralyzed by polio, was far more debilitated than the public realized.  Unable to stand for more than a few minutes or walk unassisted, he relied on his wheelchair to ambulate around the house.  To ascend and descend between floors, he wheeled himself onto a small platform in the dumbwaiter and raised and lowered himself by a rope.

Upstairs in his bedroom, a toy Scottie was perched on the window ledge, which surely reminded him of his famous canine companion, Fala.  I processed the image in black and white, to give a “historic” feel to the image and highlight the details in the room.

FDR’s Bedroom with a toy Scottie in the window.

The value of love will always be stronger than the value of hate. Any nation or group of nations which employs hatred eventually is torn to pieces by hatred.~Franklin D. Roosevelt

He had a second telephone installed by his bedside–a private, high security line for sensitive diplomatic talks– with world leaders, such as Winston Churchill during World War II.

Two telephones. FDR’s Bedroom.

His devotion to his mother was well-known.  Sara Delano Roosevelt lived with Franklin and his wife Eleanor throughout their married life, which made Eleanor feel like a guest in her own home.  I used sepia and vignette filters in this shot of Eleanor’s desk to highlight her sense of isolation within the family and her dedication to public service, her life work and passion.

Sitting Room, FDR Home.

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.~Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR was no doubt a complex man with an iron will.   His vision of America extended to all members of our society.  He provided us with safeguards and protections against banking fraud and greed, such as the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and pension benefits like Social Security.  His dream has sustained us through decades of wars, civil strife, and economic recessions, but it is now under attack.

In the days since our visit, the news is full of blaring messages of hate, of division and discord, of rumors of war.  But history is cyclical.  Once again, democratic ideals and values are threatened.  Once again, internal divisions within the country threaten to destroy American values and its ideals.  But history is also full of surprises, of dramatic reversals, of triumph over hate.  Which way will America go?  Which dream will sustain America in the 21st Century?  These questions linger during these hot days of summer.

In closing, I want to thank Ann-Christine for her marvelous Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy this week.  Please be sure to take a look at her post which highlights her recent visit to Iceland.  And a special thanks to our participants in last week’s Details challenge.  The variety and quality of your entries were outstanding!

Amy will post the next challenge on Saturday, July 27th.  For more information on how to join the Lens-Artists Photo Challenges, click here for details. Most importantly, remember to TAG your post “Lens-Artists ” so it appears in the Reader.

63 replies »

  1. Words are powerful, yet moving…
    “…history is also full of surprises, of dramatic reversals, of triumph over hate.” — This statement brings us hope.
    Thank you so much for the post, Petti! Thank you for the beautiful tour.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Tina! I’m happy to hear that you like my different “take” on Dreamy/Dreams. I am so glad you got to see the mansion too and enjoyed the visit (and re-visit). 🙂 🙂 This place has a very powerful message. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, MM. I love that view too. It is gorgeous. And thank you for wanting to learn more about our relatively short history as a nation! I am enjoying learning more about the history of European countries that we are visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patti, thanks for sharing and taking me along on this amazing tour of a very beautiful and interesting home. The home of my favorite politicians, even if I’m not American. A dream that was the reality for 12 years. We don’t to politicians like him anymore. *smile

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Patti – this is an outstandingly interesting and beautiful post on FDR! His dreams are our dreams, and he realized them despite his severe handicap. We need his dreams today, and we hope for a man or a woman to continue such a legacy. These days the world is trembling, and there has to be a steady hand and mind to see us through the storms ahead. Wonderful quotes, timely and precise. Your images are dreams of dreams, and your words make us dream of possibilities for a brighter future. Thank you for a post I will return to again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Susan! I hope you do go there some day. It’s well worth a visit. And I’m glad you enjoyed the narrative too. It’s a bit of a shock to return to the USA after a few months time and see the mood here. People are hoping for a change and a leader with vision.

      Like

  4. Thank you so much for this post, Patti. Especially the quotes. I have been a huge fan of FDR ever since NY state history in 7th grade and American history in 8th. I long for someone of his presence, courage, and knowledge almost daily in the current political climate; both here in the states and throughout Western Europe as well. Both my father and father-in-law served on the front lines in WW II, and I truly have thought for most of my life that we, western society, had learned the lessons that both world wars had taught us. Angela Merkel, for instance, has been a wonderful leader in helping Germany reckon with the perpetuation of hatred and the Holocaust, and yet even her voice has been somewhat silenced now. I sometimes have to fight off the feeling of despair that we are slipping, or avalanching back into sectarian violence and hatred. Especially with an administration that seems to be purposely catapulting us toward a feral turning on one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Hannah. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I am delighted that you have been thinking along the same lines. I have been a bit shocked at the mood back in the USA after a few months of being away. I am hopeful, though, that our path will become clearer over the next year and the voices of hate will not triumph. It’s a slippery slope to go down that path. Hate always begets more hate and ultimately ends in war.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. Yes, he was. Like millions of people, I’m hoping for another leader to emerge with that vision and commitment to serve the people instead of his/her own self interests! Have a great week, too, Jo, and thanks so much for your thoughts. I always love hearing from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed a glimpse into the life of FDR . Came away wiser . Was especially fascinated by how you edited the photos to add depth to your words. I loved the quotes you chose and the story of antique canons to deter the Republican neighbours made me
    smile.

    Like

    • I am so glad you enjoyed this, Sheetal! I am thrilled you like the editing of the photos. It took a bit of experimentation, but I’m happy with the results–especially of the sepia shots. I loved the canons too!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jackie. Yes, it was a bit of both and it was totally enjoyable. Now, I’m thinking I should plan to go to Valkill–Eleanor’s home–on another visit. 🙂 I hope all’s well with you and that you’re enjoying the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

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