Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

By Curtis Roosevelt | Go to book overview

7
Security in and out of the White House

When I was born in 1930 my grandfather was governor of the state of New York. My earliest memories are of our family home at Hyde Park. Men in uniform, state troopers, were as routine a sight for me as were the gardeners and servants who worked in the Big House. I liked the troopers’ shiny black puttees and Sam Brown belts that supported their side arms. What I didn’t realize is that these men were there to protect my sister and me, my Granny, Sara Delano Roosevelt, and, of course, the governor, whenever he visited.

When we moved to the White House three years later, there were even more uniforms to differentiate—army, navy, marine corps—everyday dress, full dress, and so on. I was delighted and soon knew all the distinctions. But these people were not our protectors. Others were. First there were the White House police patrolling the White House grounds and stationed at the entrances. They looked like ordinary policemen to me with their not very exciting uniforms. They were familiar with the regular visitors who came and went out by the front entrance to the Executive Mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. My younger uncles would come “home” for a few days during school vacations. It was on one of those times that Uncle Johnnie came rolling in at three o’clock in the morning and the guard didn’t recognize him. My uncle had

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