HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » My Great Aunt Lena turns ...

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 06:21 AM

My Great Aunt Lena turns 100 next year. Talked politics and such the other day

I hope that doesn't jinx her that I said she's going to be 100
She still drives, she still can do hers (and in a pinch others) taxes -- she was a tax accountant
6 years ago she had to be coaxed down off a ladder because she was going to paint her house
She is what the family calls 'a pioneer woman'

Lena, like my grandfather and all his siblings (save one) are/were Democrats.
My grandfather (mothers family) NEVER voted for a Republican (in partisan elections) in his life -- EVER

Lena was born when Wilson was president. My grandfather when Teddy was in the White House.
I asked Lena if she could rate the presidents of her lifetime in order.

1. This was easy. She prides herself on being a 'Roosevelt Girl' (her words). She worked for his election and re-election in Stark County, IL even when she couldn't vote. She said Roosevelt is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th greatest president in her lifetime (this is important for her later ratings) Lena can tell you almost everything you wanted (and not wanted to know about the man.)

2. If not Roosevelt then Truman. She liked Truman, he got things done, decent man. Felt he ran against one of the few passable Republicans to run for the presidency. But Truman is far greater than Dewey

3. LBJ. She liked Lyndon. Again, accomplished a lot of good things. She remembers vividly Johnson going up into the hills of Kentucky to talk with the poor who lived there. It was the event that started his War on Poverty. She wishes more presidents would go into poor areas and just listen. She admits Vietnam was a mess. He never should have gotten so tied up in it

4. She hemmed and hawed a bit. She went with Obama which surprised me because she was madder than hell at him for the longest time and couldn't utter his name after his comment where he said Roosevelt sat on his hands for 9 months and let the economy get worse.
For people who have seen the All in the Family and Maude... think Maude's opinion of Franklin Roosevelt. Lena seldom raises her voice, but bad-mouth FDR and you have a fight
She thinks he's gotten some good things done and she's never seen such a difficult congress in her lifetime.
She thinks if she had been president she'd have strangled 'that idiot from Kentucky.'
If Truman had been president he'd have chased that idiot from Kentucky and the orange faced crier from Ohio from the white house with a stick

5. She went with Wilson

6. John F Kennedy. She said had he lived longer she would have probably placed him above Wilson... maybe Obama too

7. Bill Clinton. She's not a fan. Felt he capitulated to the Republicans too much. He needed to use his presidency more aggressively to counter Republicans

8. Carter. Her quote, "Never saw a man who could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like Jimmy Carter." She was disappointed how he went from a 31% lead in June to barely eking out a victory over that 'Ford character'. His loss to Reagan and so on. "Had a lot of good ideas, but couldn't get them done and micromanaged too much."

If you haven't noticed the trend... The first 8 are all Democrats... Just in case you missed it.

To her there are only 3 types of Republicans... Poor, Passable (Dewey was passable) and Because (I'll explain this later)

9. The passable Eisenhower. She never voted for him, but he was passable.
10. Nixon
11. George Bush I
12, Ronald Reagan
13. Calvin Coolidge (the real culprit behind the crash of '29)
14. Hoover. "Great vacuum." She also added, "He had a vacuum between his ears. It sucked up dirt and junk. Greatest thing Hoover ever did; he was such a failure that it made it easier for FDR in '32."
15. George Bush II.
16. Harding. A man she loathes. She can tell you every useless and horrid thing about Harding.

Ford does not make her list... "The man never got elected to a damned thing. He was appointed both times."

Contrary to what some here at DU believe, yes you can vote for someone other than a Democrat and still be a great Democrat. Great Aunt Lena is a testament to that.
Every Presidential election she could vote in, she voted Democratic. Every Senate race except one she voted Democratic. Every congressional race Democratic. Almost every state office Democratic.
She has almost 80 years of voting, canvassing, rally attending, hat and button wearing, song singing, etc on her resume

Now the 'Because' Republican
Yes she did vote twice for Republicans. She couldn't remember the year except it was in either the late 70's or early 80's. There were two people on ballot as Democrats in Illinois for state office (she thinks they were the nominees for Attorney General and maybe Sec of State) They were LaRouchies and she just couldn't stomach them getting elected to anything - Democrat or not.
The Republicans who ran were the 'Because' Republicans. Because the Democrats for those two offices were vile

16 replies, 2003 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply My Great Aunt Lena turns 100 next year. Talked politics and such the other day (Original post)
rpannier Sep 2016 OP
monmouth4 Sep 2016 #1
whathehell Sep 2016 #2
Funtatlaguy Sep 2016 #3
rpannier Sep 2016 #11
sarge43 Sep 2016 #4
rpannier Sep 2016 #13
rpannier Sep 2016 #15
Jeffersons Ghost Sep 2016 #5
Hortensis Sep 2016 #6
malaise Sep 2016 #7
GeoWilliam750 Sep 2016 #8
rpannier Sep 2016 #14
Soxfan58 Sep 2016 #9
LittleGirl Sep 2016 #10
whathehell Sep 2016 #16
mountain grammy Sep 2016 #12

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 06:36 AM

1. Wonderful and informative OP. Many thanks for posting. Wonderful woman..n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 06:39 AM

2. She sounds great..

I love talking to people of that era...They know everything!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 06:56 AM

3. I'm not as interested in her voting habits

as I am her eating, drinking, exercise habits.
To what does she credit her longevity?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 09:08 AM

11. She keeps herself busy

and away from those people who really annoy her
Her siblings mostly lived fairly long lives
Though their parents died fairly young (their father never made it to 45 and their mother died at 51)
Joe (the eldest) was 93, Leo (my grandfather) 94, Madge (third child) died at 72, Julia died at 21 but she was always a sickly girl, Theo was only 61, her (Lena's) grouping all lived or are living beyond 80 (Grace and Albert died) Lena and Molly still plugging away

Maybe it's being Democrats
I hope

For the most part they were certainly a colorful lot

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:03 AM

4. Record her conversations.

We don't have enough of these on the ground oral histories. They're invaluable.

She is a remarkable person.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sarge43 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 09:21 AM

13. We have some of the stories from them

Not recorded which is too bad
My grandfather and his set were quite the crew 4 boys 2 girls (before 1910) and then there was the second set that came later (after 1914)
Great Aunt Madge was probably the greatest character of the crew
She had little tolerance for drinking. Her husband came home one night drunk and couldn't get the door open. She opened the door hit him with a frying pan and left him unconscious on the porch
The following day when he got up he thought he tripped on the stairs
He couldn't figure out why others in town thought it was so funny until a few days later when a friend told him he didn't trip.

She hated Calvin Coolidge. She told my grandmother (they were friends before grandma married granddad), "I heard when he was mayor someone punched him in the face. Didn't hit that old fool hard enough!"

When I was about 10 we were staying at Great Aunt Madge's and my mom said, "They say the business of America is business."
Great Aunt Madge slammed the table with her hand, "Goddammit Ju (mother is Julia)!" she shouted. "I know you did not just quote that sonofabitch! Not in my house! Not under my roof you didn't!"

Scared me. Especially how quiet the place was for about 30 seconds. A house full of people and not a sound

We've kept as much as we could, but we should have recorded their remembrances

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sarge43 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 09:32 AM

15. You gave me an idea

I need to get someone to get her to tell about the day Kennedy was assassinated and the days after.
That's an amazing set of stories
And of course, the depression and the good President Roosevelt did for America

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:04 AM

5. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:11 AM

6. Please telll your GA Lena hi. Agree on the

ones who overlap my life. I would have had to vote against the La Rouchies also.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:31 AM

7. Great post

Rec - Keep it up Aunt Lena

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:42 AM

8. Although I might rate Wilson lower

By and large she seems like a very sensible lady with whom I would spend a great deal of time agreeing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GeoWilliam750 (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 09:30 AM

14. Different era

He was president and gone before she was 6. I think her disdain for Harding helps put Wilson in a better light
Her older sister Madge hated Coolidge. It wasn't until Hoover was in the WH that she really understood politics.

I think she'd have liked to have rated Kennedy higher
Her stories about the day Kennedy was assassinated and the few days after are rather chilling

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:55 AM

9. Fascinating woman

We should all talk and especially listen to the (forever young) people in our lives. She seems like a treasure.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 07:59 AM

10. I love listening to the elders

they have so much wisdom. My sincere regards to her.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LittleGirl (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 11:56 AM

16. Me too..

They were around for the things we've only heard or read about...I used to love listening to my grandmother who, today, would be about one generation older than this woman...She was amazing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 09:13 AM

12. Kind of reminds me of our dear Aunt Bonnie.

Ninety years old and sharp as a tack.. She was a child of the depression, and, like many west Texas children, poor and food deprived. She was an adult by the time FDR died. She's been a Democrat all her voting life and can't understand why everyone isn't. Your Aunt Lena is a gem.. treasure her.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread