By Davis W. Houck, Amos Kiewe

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Additional resources for Fdr's Body Politics: The Rhetoric of Disability (Presidential Rhetoric Series, No. 8)

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28 In the meantime, Howe thought long and hard about the logistics of moving Franklin from Campobello Island to New York City, all the while keeping a low profile in the newspapers. 21 Keeping Secrets Despite his wife’s upbeat reports to family members, Franklin must have been having grave doubts. 29 It was under these trying conditions that Franklin received a rather remarkable letter from his Uncle Fred. We reprint it in full because the “fatherly advice” that Fred offers was a harbinger of the public face that Franklin would put on his new body and his new condition.

My dear Franklin, I spent a restless night last night and thought a good deal about you, wondering how I could be of some service and as a result of that cogitation, I came to the conclusion that I might give you some “Fatherly” advice. It won’t do any harm and it may do some good! I do not remember the school books[’] definition of philosophy, but since I passed 40, I have worked out ideas of my own on the subject. To my mind Philosophy means in substance, “making the best of the situation,” or in other words taking things as they are, analyzing the facts, above all not fooling yourself, and by intelligent reasoning determining the right course to pursue.

Given Franklin’s political ambitions, and given the tremendous sense of ostracism and isolation experienced by the physically handicapped, who could blame him, her, or them? Three days after Dr. Lovett’s accurate diagnosis, August 28, Uncle Fred felt compelled to write to Eleanor and reassure her that she had done the 19 Keeping Secrets right thing: “I am so glad you decided to have Dr. ”18 Fred, of course, was right; that he still needed to convince his nephew’s wife of this situation again suggests a degree of denial.

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