I have traveled from afar to a dark, serious room. I am accustomed to sunlight and loud flowery voices that speak in rapid Spanish phrases. Mexico seems a long way from my new home where I sit upon a cold marble ledge.
I was molded by the hands of Mexican royalty. Amalia Cardenas, the wife of President Lazaro Cardenas, created me in her home when she was a teenager in a small village. Amalia was so proud of my shape and painted me the same bright, vivid colors that she saw outside her bedroom window. The blossoms that adorn me are replicas of the flowers that grew in her mother’s garden. I traveled with Amalia to live in the President’s home. She placed me on top of her dresser and I held her many trinkets.
I traveled to America because Amalia knew that the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt hired John D. Rockefeller to establish a friendly relationship with Mexico. Rockefeller thought that introducing America to the richness of Mexican art would be a way to establish a cordial relationship between the countries. It was at this time that Amalia came up with the idea of showing Eleanor Roosevelt how much she admired her. Amalia packed me up and sent me as a special gift to the First Lady. I was to be a token of goodwill between the two countries!
When I arrived at the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York, I was immediately aware of the chill in the air. Gone was the glorious sun and heat of Mexico of my homeland. Eleanor opened me up in the presence of her husband, the President, and her mother-in-law, Sara.I was so proud to be in the hands of the woman that Amalia admired so much for all of her kind-hearted work in America. Eleanor took me out carefully and smiled as she gazed upon me and she exclaimed about all of my colors and shape. Eleanor announced that she would put me in the kitchen where I would be the home for one of the flowers from the gardens of the estate. I was so happy to be of use to the First Lady and looked forward to living in the warm and fragrant kitchen.
Unfortunately I was not able to live in the kitchen for very long. Not long after my arrival, Eleanor and Franklin had to travel out of state and wouldn’t be home for several days. Sara, Franklin’s mother, quickly transferred me from the kitchen to the dark and austere library. She removed the flower from inside of me and I was placed onto the chilled mantle of the dark marble fireplace. I missed the warmth of the kitchen and the cheerful voices of the servants. The library seldom has many visitors and the voices I hear are hushed. The only bright spot of my days in the library are when the children visit and play their board games. I love their laughter and eager chatter.
Eleanor returned home and saw my new place in the home, but did not move me back into the kitchen. She looked weary and sad to see me in the library, but she left me on the mantle. I am proud to be in the home of American nobility, but long for the days of warmth and the flowery speech of Mexico.