PRESIDENT #16 – MARY LINCOLN’S TIME IN BATAVIA


127_2778_2 A few springs ago, Kelli and I met Roger, Sally and Lindy at the Town House Books and Cafe in St. Charles, Illinois – a place to read and eat. What better combination than that?

Instead of appetizers, main course, etc., the menu is divided into Chapter One and Chapter Two. The build-your-own-sandwich section is a Writer’s Workshop. You choose your main 127_2781_2character (main ingredient), develop the story (what you want on it) and thicken the plot (add an extra).

The food was great – I had quiche, the others had sandwiches and chips – which were made from different kinds of potatoes, giving them a variety of colors.

127_2786From there we went to Bellevue Place in Batavia which is where Mary Lincoln was confined because her son thought she was insane. Presidential scholars have debated whether or not she really had mental difficulties or whether her behavior was a 127_2790_2 result of migraines and depression. Mary was able to talk herself out of her  confinement in three months. While staying at Bellevue, Mary wrote many letters, letters that the Lincoln’s son, Robert, supposedly threw away. He admitted he wanted to get rid of anything that had anything to do with that time of his mother’s life.

Surprisingly, the letters have recently reappeared – and they are compiled in a book. (Not sure how that happened, if he threw them away.)  I personally have read a lot about Mary Lincoln, and I truly don’t know what was up with Mary. Some of the things she did seemed strange, yes, but at the same time, she lost three of her four sons – and her husband. Her much loved husband was President, but the northerners didn’t like her because she was a southerner and the southerners didn’t like her because she had married a northerner. All those things combined would’ve distressed anyone.  I just don’t know.

Nearby is the Batavia Depot Museum and Mary’s “room” is actually there – well, the furniture from her Bellevue room.127_2791

Just think, once upon a time, Mary Lincoln looked in this mirror.127_2792

After that we bought some ice cream and wandered along the river where we saw some umm … interesting signs. I mean walking your bike doesn’t sound like a lot of fun!

128_2802128_2803_2 And here is my happy brother happily having fun with some rather stone-faced children.

128_2805 A good time was had by all.

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