With all the hubbub of Ken Burns’ Roosevelt documentary on PBS last week this Abby’s Road anniversary is appropriate!
September 23rd is our wedding anniversary. On our honeymoon we stayed at the outskirts of a major eastern US city (Boston) and visited the homeplace and burial site of a major US President (John Adams), the subject of a great book by David McCullough.
Five years ago today, we were awaiting the birth of our soon-to-be adopted daughter, and on our anniverary, we stayed at the outskirts of a major eastern US city (New York) and visited the homeplace and burial site of a major US President (Theodore Roosevelt), the subject of a great book by David McCullough.
September 23rd was the baby’s original due date. “It was meant to be,” we said a lot that summer. So if we were going to be caring for baby we had better see the sites we wanted to see now! The baby wasn’t born that day after all, but we still had a wonderful day together!
From page 120:
Sagamore Hill was the home of President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. He bought the land and built the house in the early 1880s and lived there from 1885 until his death in 1919.
Theodore Roosevelt is that one guy on Mount Rushmore that isn’t on any money.
TR is one of my favorite presidents, if only because his life was so fascinating. If I wrote a novel about a character whose life mirrored Roosevelt’s no one would buy it. He was his own “Mary Sue” character; a pulp character in the vein of Doc Savage. It would not surprise me if someone discovered TR put on a mask and cape at night and fought crime.
He died in his bed in 1919. Here, at Sagamore Hill.
It’s a beautiful place. The lawn is manicured, sidewalks roll throughout the park; all dominated by the huge blue house. There are also out-buildings, barns, a smokehouse and a small windmill, too; but the house dominates.
We were early and the first tour of the house did not start for 45 more minutes, so we walked the grounds and took pictures.
We sat on a bench and watched the caretakers mow, pick up litter, sticks and leaves; we watched a turkey cautiously walk past. It was a beautiful day – not hot, but warm enough for me to still wear shorts. I savored where I was and Esther and I held hands and basked in each other’s company.
The porch was huge – bigger than most living rooms. TR would use this porch for lectures and speeches. There was plenty of room up here for chairs for other dignitaries. I stood looking beyond to the Long Island Sound; imagining Roosevelt pontificating and banging the podium with his fist.
The words “Qui Plantavit Curabit” were carved and painted in gold over the main entrance. I think it means “bananas are good for you”.
The tour began at the side entrance – where they bricklayers were restoring the driveway. We were told not to speak with the bricklayers as they were busy working. We had been talking to them for the past twenty minutes…
… We saw the bedrooms where the children and servants slept. We saw the bed in which TR died. We saw his study; the walls of which were lined with his trophies and memorabilia. Two feet in front of me was a glass case with his Rough Rider uniform. I gazed at it for hours, it seemed.
An elderly gentleman had a hard time climbing the many narrow staircases and asked everyone else to go first. I did not mind and motioned him to go ahead of me – it gave me a chance to look at the many pictures on the wall and the many roped-off rooms while I waited.
Esther was even more enthralled. She loves old houses and antique furniture. She didn’t want to leave. (She was also the prettiest site I saw that day … or any day!)
I’m not that much into old houses and furniture unless there is some historic significance to it.
“Do you want to tour a Queen Anne-style house built in the 1880s?”
“Do you want to tour a Queen Anne-style house built in the 1880s that Teddy Roosevelt lived in?”
“Heck, yeah!! Try to keep me away!”
“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.
Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.
Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending
at Barnes and Noble here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532
and at Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270
Copyright 2014 Michael Curry