17 July 2018 - EDITH ROOSEVELT


G'day folks,

Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt was the second wife of President Theodore Roosevelt and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1901 to 1909. She was the first First Lady to employ a full-time, salaried social secretary.

Edith Roosevelt (1861-1948) was an American first lady (1901-09) and the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. Childhood sweehearts, the two were separated for a number of years before resuming their romance and marrying, two years after the tragic death of Theodore’s first wife, Alice. In 1901, the Roosevelts entered the White House, which Edith and Theodore quickly realized could not accomodate their large and boisterous young family. They secured permission and funding from Congress to extensively remodel the building, including construction of the new West Wing, which separated the private family quarters from the presidential offices for the first time.

The second child of Gertrude Elizabeth and Charles Carow, scion of a successful New York City-based shipping firm, Edith Kermit Carow was born into a world of privilege. She received an extensive education in writing, literature, languages and the arts, and learned the proper social behavior expected from a young woman of high society. But all was not rosy within the Carow household due to Charles’s drinking and gambling habits, and his sudden loss of income in the late 1860s forced the family to live with relatives for a few years. Deeply ashamed of her father’s failures, Edith later destroyed much of his surviving correspondence and records.

Edith was schooled in the Roosevelt household alongside the future president’s siblings, and accompanied the family on their summer trips to Oyster Bay, Long Island. Their frequent proximity fueled romantic sparks, though their relationship cooled after Roosevelt’s sophomore year at Harvard University, and he soon began his courtship of Alice Hathaway Lee. A year and a half after his first wife’s death, Roosevelt reconnected with Edith at a sister’s home. Engaged in November 1885, they agreed to keep their status a secret while Edith’s mother went through with plans to move the family to Europe. The Roosevelts finally tied the knot in London on Dec. 2, 1886.

She established a precedent by hiring the first federally-salaried White House social secretary to answer mail, convey news to the press and help run the household. Edith also honored her predecessors by hanging portraits of former first ladies a ground-floor corridor of the White House. From a policy standpoint, Edith’s most important contributions came via her private correspondence with Cecil Spring-Rice, a junior British ambassador who had been the best man at the Roosevelts’ wedding. Continually apprised of the ongoing Russo-Japanese War through his wife, the president negotiated an end to the conflict, for which he earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.

The Roosevelts traveled extensively after leaving the White House in 1909, with Edith escorting her husband through several South American countries before his departure on an expedition into the Amazon jungle. Following the former president’s death in 1919, Edith continued her world tour by visiting Europe, South Africa, Asia, Hawaii and the West Indies, later recounting her experiences in the 1927 travelogue “Cleared for Strange Ports.” Edith also edited a history of her genealogy with her son Kermit and assisted the aging members of her husband’s “Rough Riders” contingent during those years.

Edith resurfaced in the public eye as an opponent of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential campaign. A proud Republican, she chafed at what was misconceived to be a close relationship with her niece Eleanor’s husband, and spoke at a rally for the incumbent Herbert Hoover at New York’s Madison Square Garden that October. Edith eventually developed more respect for FDR and his New Deal policies, and maintained cordial relations with that branch of the family. She passed away on Sept. 30, 1948, at her long time home in Oyster Bay.


 Clancy's comment: She appears to have been a very sharp lady.

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G'day folks,

Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira, a 27-year-old marathon runner from Kenya, became an overnight sensation in the small Baltic country of Estonia, after winning the 35th annual Tartu Half-Marathon, a 23-kilometer race he ran in his socks.

Just last week, we wrote about the monumental achievement of María Lorena Ramírez, a native Rarámuri woman from Mexico, who won a 50-kilometer ultramarathon in rubber sandals made from used car tires and wearing a long traditional skirt. Today, we cover the amazing story of a man who not only won a 23-kilometer marathon in Estonia, but also set a new speed record, after running with no shoes on. It’s definitely an incredible time for sports, and running in particular.

 Ibrahim didn’t plan on running the Tartu Half-Marathon, on April 28, in his socks. He arrived at the starting point with his running shoes, but gave them to someone for safe keeping, and just couldn’t retrieve them before the starting whistle. He even told the race organizers about this problem, and they tried to help him out, appealing to the public for a pair of shoes his size. But no one stepped up, so the Kenyan athlete was left with two options, drop out of the marathon, or run in his socks. He went for the latter.

“It was pretty difficult in the beginning,” Ibrahim told Estonian news site Delfi. “Especially on the asphalt, but on the dirt trail it was quite good to run and in the end I got used to it.”

By the 11th kilometer of the marathon, Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira was already leading the race, and he ended up winning over 4 minutes ahead of the runner up. His official time of 1.13.23 was also a new speed record for the Tartu Half-Marathon. Photos of the 27-year-old crossing the finish line in his worn out socks have been doing the rounds on Estonian social media and news sites for a month now, and he has become somewhat of a celebrity.

“When I was running, I forget I don’t have shoes, I just running like I have,” Ibrahim said in a video interview. “I keep in mind, I say ‘I have shoes, I have to go now.'”

 It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira was working with his family on a tea plantation at the foot of Mount Kenya, and lived in a modest hut. He had begun training as a long-distance runner, but due to his modest roots, he still had to work in the fields to put food on the table.

His luck changed when he met a fellow runner from a faraway country called Estonia. Tiidrek Nurme immediately saw his potential, and even though they could barely communicate, due to Ibrahim’s poor English, he invited him to his country to be his training partner. They have been friends for five years now, and training together for four years.

Mukunga Wachira has been traveling back and forth between Estonia and Kenya for years, but he doesn’t mind, as after winning several races around Europe, he now earns more than the average Kenyan, and is able to provide for his family. He loves Estonia, especially the seaside, but hates snow.

Clancy's comment: Kenyans are brilliant long distance runners.

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