Barbara Pierce Bush, pearly, craggy ex-First Lady, completed her 85th year of life today. Another White House Wife, beautiful, brilliant Ida Saxton McKinley, entered the world on the 8th of June, 1847. She was about my age when she died, having lived long enough to lose first one then another of her two children when they were just tiny girls. Ah well... if you're the sort who reads a blog such as this, then I'm betting you know that she lost her health, that her neural underpinnings came unpinned a bit. Pres. McKinley would insist upon sitting by her side at dinner so he could cover Ida's face with a napkin, sparing her the dis-ease of being seen while having a seizure.
I came across a wonderful candid photograph of Wm. McKinley. Lifting his topper he was and smiling [breezy, handsome. In his official pictures Wm. McK. looked like a sleep-deprived banker. ] in the back of an open carriage in Buffalo, NY, Sept. 6, 1901. Right when his assassin, was probably fiddling with the white handkerchief he was carrying to spare the President and the guards and the crowds there, at the Temple of Music, the dis-ease of seeing the gun too soon. What was the caption? Something to the affect that McKinley be shot about 15 min. after this picture was taken.
"Be careful," mortally-wounded Wm. McKinley would say to his secretary. Oh be careful, he pleaded, when it came to telling Ida.
Sheesh. Who needs fiction?
Me, I guess.
Note: To read more about it, as the saying goes, check out www.whitehouse.gov
You'll find splendid bios of the Presidential partners at www.firstladies.org
For a handsome telling of the life and death of President McKinley, go to www.mckinley.lib.oh.us/mckinley/biography.htm