LITTLE NELL

LITTLE NELL
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

I'm shouldered with a woman of brilliance, boldness, and originality.
Her name is Eleanor Roosevelt.
Her biography is outstanding and her strength "syncs" wonderfully with a strong, bold cup of dark coffee.
"Redefining the role of the first lady, she advocated for human and women's rights, held press conferences and penned her own column. After leaving the White House in 1945, Eleanor became chair of the U.N.'s Human Rights Commission. The groundbreaking first lady died in 1962 in New York City."
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Delving into Eleanor's past was a bit of a shock to me.
Her brilliance, boldness, and courage were the byproducts of an unusually difficult and painful past:
1) Eleanor Roosevelt (Anna Eleanor) was born to Anna and Elliot Roosevelt in 1884. Her mother Anna was acclaimed a raving beauty and New York's most glamorous woman. Indeed, the poet Robert Browning begged permission to simply gaze upon her countenance.
 Eleanor's father Elliot was a literal "gold mine" and son of a prestigious and multimillion-dollar investment firm-holder.
The couple was idolized, characterized, and prized as so supremely elite that there was nowhere to go but down.
Eleanor's birth began the steady "descent" in 1884 in the mind of her mother.
Eleanor's looks and gender received grave marks with immediacy upon her entrance into the world, and her early personality was found disagreeable and deplorable to Anna. Critical, cruel, and painfully difficult, Anna never ceased verbalizing a heartless sordid commentary to and of her firstborn child. The verbal and mental negativity sustained by Eleanor in the early years of her life had an enormous impact on her.
The vulnerable words of young Eleanor:
"I always had the feeling from a very young age that I was ugly."
"The feeling that I was useful was perhaps the greatest joy I experienced."
Her father Elliot was a reaffirming, delightful presence in her life but unfortunately, he was also wayward, inconsistent, and notoriously indulgent in others.
He left his home, wife, and family and indulged in vile behavior which brother Teddy (Theodore) worked to remedy. He was sent to Abingdon, Virginia, where he was provided work, yet remained of an unruly temperament and disposition until his death.
2) Eleanor's mom contracted diptheria when she was eight years. She died, leaving behind Eleanor, Elliot Jr., and Hall. Eleanor's hope and fantasy of a rekindled relationship with her father was snuffed out forcibly. The children were placed in the unfavorable care of Grandmother Mary Hall, who was still raising teenage "hellions" of her own.
Eleanor's environment was seized and overwhelmed by rampant sexual behavior, alcohol, and other unfavorable conditions.
The highly contagious disease, Scarlet Fever, passed through the house also and Elliot Jr. (3 years old) passed away on May 29, 1893.
Not long after, Eleanor received a most pathetic letter from her father who coined her "Nell" from early childhood.
"Darling little Nell,
What must you think of your father who has not written for so long? I have been all very busy, quite ill from the effects of alcohol, and at intervals not able to move from my bed for days. How is your pony and the dogs too?
With tender affection, ever devotedly,
Your father."

Hours later a drunk and raging Elliott jumped through his bedroom window to his death in a horrific suicide.
Eleanor's beloved father passed in August of 1894.
3) After enduring seven difficult years under a supremely disfunctional roof, and with uncles declared dangerous and unpredictable, Eleanor was sent to school in England. She arrived at Allenswood (an exclusive girls finishing school) where the second period of her life began.
"Eleanor's teachers filled her report cards with glowing comments such as 'very advanced,' 'very industrious,' 'excellent.'
"Eleanor has had the most admirable influence on the school and gained the affection of many, the respect of all."
Eleanor's disposition grew confidently, ardently, and provokingly in this needful period of her life.
4) Eleanor married her 5th cousin Franklin Roosevelt in 1905.
President Theodore Roosevelt (Uncle Teddy) walked her down the aisle.
The dashing Franklin saw in Eleanor the "makings" of his political future and he credited her with brilliance, originality, and an invincible internal posture.
Indeed, what Franklin lacked in personal integrity he garnered through sound mental clarity.
The day of his marriage to Eleanor marked his early and fruitful political career.
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Eleanor's life, composed of pain and difficulty, would prove a remarkable asset to our nation's health and history. Her demeanor, countenance, wisdom, and tenacity would be constructive agents in the fostering of our country's future and its longevity.
Originality. Intelligence. Purpose.
In shouldering up to an "Eleanor," the heart and mind are adamantly and positively affected.
Courage, bravery, and resilience are the lessons of today, along with a quote to inspire:
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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