This portrait of FDR seems so essential as it greets visitors to FDR's home. I wonder when and where it was located. Who was the painter? Was it Sara or FDR that had it commissioned, or was it a gift? Is that what happens when you become president? And FDR--what did he think, viewing the painting and seeing himself staring back. Calm, serene, presidential. This is who I was meant to be. My God, why must I have this to live up to every single day? Or, this is my duty, my commission, my hope, my potential, my destiny. Did this portrait and he have a sort of conversation between themselves?
Well, Franklin, another day.
Who’s visiting today?
Oh, just the king and queen of England.
There’s that sense of humor. How are you feeling about that?
Oh, well, the grandchildren are excited, and you know there is important work to be done.
Yes, what is on the agenda?
Oh for heaven’s sake, can’t I have my breakfast first? I have enough on my mind without needing to explain myself to inanimate caricatures of myself.
Alright, Franklin. It’s all right.
Yes, it is, isn’t it.
That voice, reassuring. Illuminated with the morning glow and the artist’s genius, communicating the wisdom that could come only from the daily experiences of this man’s life, and yet encapsulated in this portrait. A life as a work of art.
I see it today, and wonder, “Who was he,” and am strangely still reassured by the man that was here, so long ago, and called it home.