Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Alice Blue

Alice Roosevelt Longworth! The only White House daughter who's really ever had any style. Forget the lamentable Bush twins, perish the thought of the dowdy Johnson daughters (despite whichever one it was dating George Hamilton), never you mind a thought about Margaret Truman with her singing and bad novels... Oh, I suppose Chelsea had her charms, but they weren't a patch on the international sensation that was Teddy Roosevelt's little girl 'round about 1908:


Her wedding was one of the first big Washington media circuses; she got diamonds from Edward VII and pearls from the Dowager Empress of China (whom she'd visited a year or two before, taking away as gifts on that occasion enough bolts of fine silk to outfit her well into her eighties), and sufficient year's supplies of this and that from America's manufacturers to put Star Jones to shame.

And she could clearly work a train!
Sadly, the groom - although fetching enough in his own right in his little moustache -turned out to be something of a stick, and it might not have been the happiest of unions. She went through a dour period as a Washington socialite between the Wars...
It was an era that flattered no one...
Before emerging into what turned out to be a gloriously extended dotage. She lived well into her nineties, gleefully showing up for White House functions, having a very public crush on JFK, and torturing the Nixons, who thought she was making fun of them (she was; Eleanor had the same problem).
To quote her father: Dee-lightful!
Alice will always have a place in my heart, if only for the embroidered sofa cushion that decorated her Massachusetts Avenue drawing room, saying:
If you don't have anything nice to say about somebody, come sit here by me!

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