It was Fala, my husband’s little dog, who never really readjusted. Once, in 1945, when General Eisenhower came to lay a wreath on Franklin’s grave, the gates of the regular driveway were opened and his automobile approached the house accompanied by the wailing of the sirens of a police escort. When Fala heard the sirens, his legs straightened out, his ears pricked up and I knew that he expected to see his master coming down the drive as he had come so many times. Later, when we were living in the cottage, Fala always lay near the dining-room door where he could watch both entrances just as he did when his master was there. Franklin would often decide suddenly to go somewhere and Fala had to watch both entrances in order to be ready to spring up and join the party on short notice. Fala accepted me after my husband’s death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (via necroromantic)
Some Alone Time
“Here at home, our family of children grows. We have five around the place today, ranging from two to eleven in age. Our most independent character is a three-year old who thinks nothing of deciding to walk by himself from one cottage to the other, three quarters of a mile through the woods, up a steep hill. He seems quite amazed when anyone goes to look for him, and acts a little bit the way Fala does when that little dog runs away to hunt in the swamps. With Fala, I call futilely for a long time, and after I go home in disgust he comes serenely trotting down the road, looking to right and left as much as to say: ‘Look at me, I have been on an adventure all alone!’ “ — Eleanor Roosevelt, My Day, July 7, 1945
‘Fala nearly wagged his tail off’
“I was sorry that the President had such a short stay in Warm Springs, Ga., but I think the change was good for him. He told me they had a wonderful dinner at the Foundation on Saturday night, and he had a good sleep in his cottage.
“For once, he left his dog, Fala, behind. I imagine he thought they are apt to get ticks in the South, and that the trip was not going to be long enough to warrant so much time spent on the train for a little dog. However, left behind, Fala was a very pathetic and lonely object. He deigned to spend his nights in my room and woke me up in the mornings by pawing the side of my bed and by little yaps to attract my attention. When the President came in, Fala nearly wagged his tail off.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, My Day, Dec. 4, 1941
“In the midst of her labors, Eleanor took unexpected comfort in Fala’s return to the Roosevelt household. Shortly after the funeral, Jimmy Roosevelt had written Margaret Suckley and asked her to send Fala back. ‘In talking to my sister and brother, we all feel very disappointed that Fala is not staying with Mother,’ Jimmy wrote. Fala was part of the family,” and it would make Mother ‘very happy to have him back.’ Suckley agreed, and Fala came to live at Val-Kill. Soon he and Eleanor became inseparable. Fala accompanied her on her walks through the woods, sat beside her chair in the living room, and greeted her at the door when she came home. ‘No one was as vociferously pleased to see me as Fala,’ she noted proudly after a trip to New York. Still, Fala missed the president. When General Eisenhower came to Hyde Park to lay a wreath on Roosevelt’s grave, Fala heard the sirens of the motorcade and thought his master was returning. ‘His legs straightened out’ and ‘his ears pricked up,’ Eleanor noted; he was hoping to see his master coming down the drive.” —From “No Ordinary Time” by Doris Kearns Goodwin