Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

By Curtis Roosevelt | Go to book overview

16
The Effect of FDR’s Death
on the Roosevelt Family

When Franklin D. Roosevelt died, what happened to my uncles, the president’s well-known sons, his daughter, my mother, and my stepfather, the president’s son-in-law? What happened to my grandmother? What happened to me? What happened to “Sistie and Buzzie”?

These are all questions I’d like to address. I can only report what I observed, or from conversations within the family. Occasionally outsiders would comment, with some of the most critical remarks coming from them—although some of the letters between my grandmother and mother were equally critical of my uncles, her brothers.

There can be no generalities except to describe the problem we all faced. The sun in our lives disappeared over the horizon. There was an afterglow for a while, but even that didn’t radiate the easy recognition we had taken for granted when FDR was president. My uncles were used to being instantly recognized as the president’s sons and my mother continued to be very conscious of how she behaved as the president’s daughter. My grandmother was “Mrs. Roosevelt,” and that was it!

My mother and stepfather’s saga will be told in detail in chapter 17 because my sister and I were interwoven into that unfolding.

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