Streets Trod by Mary Todd
I was in Springfield for a couple of days for a work-related meeting. Here’s the view from my hotel room looking out over the capitol section of the city. Doesn’t it look all Springfieldy?
This is where our most notorious leader, Rod Blagojevich, began his political career. Since Springfield is also the home of Abraham Lincoln, everything is Lincoln-this and Lincoln-that. Whenever I’m here, though, I can’t help but reflect on the life of his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
Such a tragic figure, she was. Imagine, losing three of your four sons to illness while they were young. Then, your husband gets assassinated. Then your remaining son has you committed to an insane asylum. Finally, your favorite hat designer cuts off your line of credit.
The mind reels.
But looking out over these streets, I like to think of Mary Todd upon her first arrival in this city. She had just completed a college education (a very rare feat for young women in the 1830s) and had left her home in Kentucky to stay with an older sister here in the new, frontier capital city. Aside from being fluent in French, she was witty, politically savvy, beautiful, and the talk of the town. Here, she had her pick of dozens of eligible, young bachelors and she selected one that would make her a First Lady.
And the rest, as they say, is history. . . .