Monday, 21 April 2014

Victory - FDR style!

There is none so brave as a Wren,
faced with lugging her increasingly weighty, 
shopping-stuffed suitcases 
through the crowded New York subway,
when her DH announces 
that he doesn’t much fancy driving in Manhattan…

It’s OK, I’ll drive! 
So here I am, 
white knuckled at the wheel leaving town.

'The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself'
Just follow the ambulance my family said, just in case we need it!
Now I learnt to drive navigating Swindon's Magic Roundabout
I am used to driving in Melbourne and Hong Kong. 
I have driven on the go as-fast-as-you-like autobahns in Germany, 
and even coped with the priorité à droite system in Belgium, 
but driving in New York is pretty, pretty crazy!

However,
'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, 
you do not wait until he has struck to crush him'
Thank goodness for our GPS, a complete bargain at $14.95 a day. 
We turned it on and we were off...

Once, that is, 
we worked out what a ‘on’ and ‘off ramp’ was, 
then, there was no stopping me...

I’m proud to say I only got “tooted’ at once - hooray.
'Oh look Mum the GPS says you've crashed into the park!'
We were off to visit my Uncle and Aunt in Connecticut,
I haven't been there for a while. 
Well, not since they moved into their 'new' house, thirty years ago.

However as soon as we were upstate New York, 
we were pleased we’d driven,
especially as the beautiful warm spring weather turned into heavy rain…
Back to the white knuckle driving conditions...

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

Following the pink line!
Through wildly waving windscreen wipers, 
(which I hit every time I wanted to indicate 
 - everything is back to front for an Brit/Aussie, 
just in case you thought I was totally hopeless.)
we could see the city becoming countryside.
Ahead were majestic mountains, lakes and towns 
and pretty New England cottages in the 
rolling pastoral farmland of Dutchess County.
The region was home to the Vanderbilts and 
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and is rich in history.

We were heading to the Hudson Valley/Catskills region 
and specifically, to the old town of Rhinebeck,
recommended as a great place 
to stop and explore, thanks Liz!

Beekman Arms - America's oldest inn, built in 1766
From Rhinebeck it's a short drive to 
Franklin D Roosevelt's 
Presidential Library and Museum.
We needed something indoors (to be dry!)
and we couldn't have picked better. 
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon
 at the estate in Hyde Park.

FDR Museum
Poor FDR and Eleanor seen here below relaxing in their garden, 
a little sodden outside the Presidential library.
We enjoyed learning more about their lives, 
we got a real sense of the depths of Great Depression, 
FDR's personal struggles,
the New Deal and World War Two. 

We felt by the end of our visit,
 we'd really got to know both of them a little better through their lives.
 They both had some great quotes...

Women are like teabags. 
We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!
FRD and Eleanor in the grounds at Hyde Park
Here is FRD's private study, 
it is not a recreation, it is his actual study.


The museum had many interactive exhibits 
which we all enjoyed, even our teenage son.
It can't be easy suddenly going from the baby of the family 
to Chief Bell Boy, with his older sisters off exploring the world.

We were glad we had him with us
You have no idea how many times he carried the suitcases, 
or we lost the keys between picking them up at the front desk of a hotel, 
and arriving at the lift or outside the room!
It got to be such a joke.

'You're a worry,' he would say, 
'When can I put you Guys in a home?!'
'After we've stopped paying for such nice holidays' we replied!!

Chief Bell Boy relaxes at the FDR Museum!
Fast forward to the end of our trip to Connecticut,
we're in a rush to get back into New York 
By this time I am no longer driving
Everyone decided that it was better if I didn't...

Succcessss!!!

No one mentioned that getting back onto Manhattan for Easter weekend 
is like sixty million cars all queued up for one tiny parking lot.
It took us four hours to get through the Lincoln tunnel.

There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.
Lincoln Bridge at a standstill Easter weekend
We had no time to drop the suitcases off at our return New York hotel, 
we have a train to catch to Washington DC.
DH drops me and Bell Boy off close to Madison Square Gardens,
We leg it through the people.
Me clearing the way in the tide of humanity 
'Excuse me, Excuse me' 
in my best British accent
Yep in a crisis, become very British!

American's always love a British accent 
(well maybe not if they are talking about who 
burned down the original Capital Building, 
or we are side swiping everyone with our trundle suitcases 
but worth a try, and we have a train to catch)

Bell Boy brings up the rear, suitcases wobbling precariously behind him
We just make it onto the train, 
meeting up with daughter No 2 at Penn Station
DH misses the train...  

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
Well that was exciting... I could go on, but FDR reminds me:

Be sincere; be brief; be seated.
Can I leave you with one last quote from Eleanor Roosevelt
who was an impressive First Lady with a great sense of humour?
This me laugh although it doesn't quite fit with anything! 
I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. 
But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: 
no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.
Linking with Alphabe Thursday 
V is for Victory!


Post a Comment