Hubby swept me away on a three day Berkshire Birthday Trip and I’ll be posting some interesting (I hope) blatherings on what we did and saw. First up…We visited Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home, Springwood, and presidential library in Hyde Park, NY. I know…not the Berkshires but it’s only an hour away from the region.
We all know about the polio and the New Deal and the four terms…blah…blah…blah… But the man doesn’t get enough credit for the 21st Amendment – the REPEAL of Prohibition. His best quote wasn’t, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Nope. It was, “I think this would be a good time for beer.” – 1933
The FDR museum was very well done but like all presidential library/museums, the man’s strengths are lionized. During his administration, FDR inflated government to titanic proportions. I understand that the Great Depression required extreme measures but once you open a faucet, it’s difficult to shut off. I found the library’s panel about the Social Security Act particularly interesting.
A quote from the panel: “In an earlier, largely rural America the needy were cared for SOMEHOW (my emphasis) and the boom times before 1929 served to hide them….The administration’s response was the Social Security Act of 1935, creating a system of social insurance based on contributions from workers and employers.” How could the people have possibly cared for themselves before the U.S. Government stepped in? I got a chuckle over that.
The FDR home tour by a park ranger was o.k. For $14 per person I expected more than the semi/self-guided tour of the home; I didn’t get a sense of the man and how the home shaped him. My impression is that the ranger was a new seasonal, so I cut him some slack. I did ask if the home was haunted and the ranger replied that the “old-timers” think FDR’s mother, Sarah, is still hanging around.
The best souvenir that I bought there: a pint glass celebrating the 21st Amendment. BTW, that’s Berkshire Brewing’s Brown Ale in the glass. Cheers!