I decided to take up the challenge of three quotes in three days. This post has more than one quote, but all attribute to a single source — Eleanor Roosevelt. That’s almost like one quote, right?
I couldn’t find Eleanor, but I have her in my “historical dolls” collection. From Effanbee, 1985
No one nominated me because the bloggers I hang with don’t nominate. Neither do I, so if you find this challenge interesting, consider yourself invited to give it a whirl.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
I’m reading — okay, listening (with Garry) — to the David McCullough biography of Harry Truman. Concurrently (and not coincidentally), we watched (again) Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts.”
This heavy dose of over-achievers brought me face-to-face with how little I’ve achieved in life. One can only imagine how difficult it was for Eleanor, Franklin, or Teddy’s kids. Their parents were hard acts to follow.
I encountered Eleanor Roosevelt in person in October 1962. In the elevator of Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
“ 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.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
We were both in wheel chairs. I was there to have a tumor removed from my right leg. She was there because she was dying and would be buried less than a month later. I don’t know if I said anything to her.
Eleanor with Franklin D. Roosevelt. By Effanbee, 1985
Probably not. I was suffering from terminally struck dumb. She was the woman in whose footsteps I would have most wanted to follow, if I had unlimited options and an inclination to dedicate my life to public service. Which, even then, I knew I didn’t.
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
There was never a question in my mind of being her. I loved that she was always on the side of right and justice — and willing to fight for it. And remarkably effective, too. She was the woman who could and did.
Having had this chance encounter, I did not immediately dedicate my life to battling evil on behalf of the greater good. That wasn’t my thing. I thought I could, at the least, do my best to choose rightly if I came to a crossroads and was obliged to make a decision.
Winston Churchill, FDR, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Great moments in history from Effanbee, 1985.
So I have. Not always as successfully as I would have liked, but not bad — for a non-Roosevelt.
“Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
There are people who are larger than life. Not that we think they are. They really are. We can admire them, enjoy them. Be glad they are in our world to fight for us.
Eleanor with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. World War II historical dolls from Effanbee.
I never thought I’d be one of those people, nor did I expect to personally know such a person. They are rare enough in the annals of human civilization. My chance and oh-so-brief encounter with Mrs. Roosevelt in the elevator was probably the closest I would ever be to greatness in the largest sense. But it was enough. I am enough.
“ One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.” — Eleanor Roosevelt