A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Monday, June 22, 2015

The Bear Family Travels South

My friend that I have known since second grade, Stacey, got married in Auburn, AL last month. She married a very nice Italian fellow named Antonio. John opted to stay home. He said that driving through the Deep South in a rental car with the Bear Family was a nightmare of his.  (John here - Yes, I've actually had a very visceral and horrific dream about being stuck wandering through the South, confined in a rental car with Alycia and her family.  It was a terrifying dream.)
My parents played multiple roles in the ceremony: my dad escorted Stacey down the aisle, and my mom found readings for my dad to present, as well as hemming the suit for Stacey's adorable son, Jonathan.
Below, they're with Stacey's department chair who officiated the ceremony. 
Along with going to the wedding, my parents and I had a little bit of time to do some sightseeing. Stacey had suggested going to the Little White House in Warm Springs, GA so we stopped by on our way to Auburn from Atlanta. As you can read from the sign, FDR came to Warm Springs to seek relief from the polio that affected his legs.
The presidential compound was actually very small. The president's cabin was in the middle (with bedrooms for the president, the first lady, and his personal secretary), with a guest house on one side (with 2 single beds in it) and servants' quarters on the other (with 2 bedrooms). It was very quiet and peaceful there. Basically the only indication that it was a retreat for a president were the sentry posts spread out in the woods around the house.

Along with the houses, there was a fairly new FDR museum on-site, which included one of his wheelchairs and a set of his leg braces.
There was also an extensive display of some of the many walking sticks and canes he received. I'd say there were 50+ in the cases in the museum.
Unknown to me, FDR was a big stamp collector. This was a display of all the stamps that he approved while he was in office.
Below is a close-up of the last stamp that he approved, just hours before dying of a massive brain aneurysm.
Here is the front of FDR's cabin. If you look close there's a light in front of the front door. It would be lit with a blue light if FDR was ready to receive guests.
The inside of the cabin was very simple - wood paneling everywhere. It reminded me of the cabins at Camp Curry in Yosemite. Since FDR was also very interested in ships, there were plenty of model ships throughout the cabin.
There were a few displays dedicated to FDR's beloved dog, Fala. This was information presented in the museum.
This was a statue in the cabin. I did indeed observe some scratches in the glass - they looked suspiciously like scratches we have on our windows at home.
For those of you who do not know, FDR died of an aneurysm while having his portrait painted at the cabin by Madame Elizabeth Shoumatoff on April 12, 1945. Below is the unfinished portrait, exactly as the artist left it that day.
Also on the Little White House grounds were flags for each of the U.S. states. In front of each flag was some sort of natural "souvenir" from each state. North Dakota's was a piece of granite that more or less was in the shape of the state. I wasn't super impressed by it, but then again, North Dakota has never been known to be flashy. I think my favorite was from Arizona, which had a large, colorful piece of petrified driftwood.
While leaving the Little White House, one of the rangers suggested that we go to Dowdell's Knob, which was FDR's favorite picnic spot. With Mother Bear leading navigation, we did make it to the lookout without too many cross words. It truly was a beautiful site. Behind me in the photo was the remnant of a grill that FDR had installed to make his picnics more comfortable.
Finally, there was also a life-sized statue of FDR (complete with leg braces if you look close) that we could photo op with at Dowdell's Knob.

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