Mamie Eisenhower; Former First Lady

This First Lady was strict with the staff at the Executive Mansion, but she was a gentle one, too-especially with the President.

The city of Denver, Colorado, became this First Lady's home when she was eight years old. However, Mamie Doud was born in Boone, Iowa on November 14, 1896.

Prior to becoming Mamie Eisenhower, this little lady vacationed frequently with her parents. The family's favorite place to visit was San Antonio, Texas. It was at this city where Mamie met her husband, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1915. Ike and Mamie fell in love quickly. They married on July 1, 1916. This was a red-letter day indeed. It was also on this day that Dwight D. Eisenhower became first lieutenant.

Mamie Eisenhower constantly bragged about Ike. Many remembered her telling stories about Ike, adding the many reasons her husband would make a great soldier one day. Mamie often commented that he'd be a loyal and distinguished solder because Ike's country had priority over anything else in his life. Mamie was in love with Ike from the day they married. Though she preferred being "˜first' in with the President, Mamie loved him enough to accept being second. She joined that role without complaint.

Frequently, Mamie Eisenhower and her husband received orders to move from one place to another""sometimes at the last minute. Here again, Mamie made every effort to practice obedience with little fuss. Mamie Eisenhower did well by her husband and her family. She deserved and received much credit for raising their two sons, Doud and John. Doud died of scarlet fever. However, John grew up, married and had a son of his own named David.

It was John's son, David Eisenhower, that married Julie Nixon, daughter of President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat. Dwight D. Eisenhower was so proud of his grandson, David that he decided to name the presidential retreat, Camp David, after him.

Mamie grew rather excited and upset at the end of World War II""not because the war was over, but because the republicans insisted that her husband run for president of the United States, in 1952. Ike returned home from the war as America's most popular hero. Mamie was proud that Ike was a notable hero, but she didn't like the idea of being viewed constantly by the public. Finally, she relented, without making waves. Thereafter, Eisenhower decided to run for President, and Mamie supported him with love, all the way to the White House.

Air travel was becoming easier in the 1950's. As a result, Ike and Mamie Eisenhower entertained more leaders, both state and foreign, than any other president and first lady.

Mamie could be "˜down to earth' when entertaining others. It was frequently reported by the White House's visitors that Mamie offered them a genuine feeling of comfort.

It wasn't long before Mamie was finding pleasure in being the First Lady. She soon cultivated a strict, but gentle, attitude with the staff. When she moved into the White House, she let it be known in no uncertain terms that she would not need a separate bedroom from her husband. Many times Mamie would light a cigarette prior to discussing with the staff what she would and would not allow in the White House.

Mamie Eisenhower advised the staff that she was accustomed to sleeping with the President in a king size bed, adding that the staff should find one for her. She reiterated that she needed a king size bed so she could reach over from time to time and pat the president. She enjoyed knowing that he was comfortable. That, in turn, gave her serenity. Mamie was one to order the White House staff around, but she complimented the staff over and over again for a job well done. As for Ike, Mamie allowed him to be exactly who he was. I think today we call that 'unconditional love.'

As I ponder the life of Mamie Eisenhower, she must have had a lot of love for the President. Though it was rumored that he had mistresses, I'll bet on it that deep down he loved his wife, Mamie.

I surely do hope so. Mamie gave, gave more, and then some. Yes, she was very versatile. Who knows? If it hadn't been for Mamie, Ike may not have done as well in politics, or golf.

© High Speed Ventures 2011