Tuesday, June 19, 2018
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Theodore Roosevelt brings fire and brimstone to town

Darrel Draper portrays 26th president during humanities talk.

In a fiery speech directed at an audience that filled the community room, Theodore Roosevelt told much of his life story.

“I am Theodore, not Teddy,” the 26th president of the United States announced in a booming voice, noting that his first wife was the only one allowed to use the nickname.

Roosevelt, portrayed by Nebraska Humanities Council speaker Darrel Draper of Omaha, visited Gothenburg Public Library on March 1. There he asked the public to vote for him in the 1912 presidential election.

“If you vote for me, you vote for women’s suffrage,” he said.

The strong-willed president then told of how he had asthma as a child and spent time as an semi-invalid propped in bed.

Confined to his home in New York City, Roosevelt read books instead of playing outside which “opened up a whole new world.”

His father told him that three things were needed to survive—decisive judgement through intellect, action through a healthy, strong body and courage and persevervance.

Roosevelt’s upstairs bedroom then became a gymnasium. He began running 25 miles a day and rowing across the East River.

Later, when he attended then Havard College, he was a successful boxer, rower and fencer. In the summer, he traveled to a timber camp in Maine where he worked, camped and climbed mountains.

Roosevelt’s father died suddenly on Feb. 12—a date that would become significant. He was engaged two years later on that date.

He graduated from Columbia Law School and later became the youngest New York State assemblyman.

On Feb. 12, 1882, his wife Alice delivered a baby girl and died followed by the death of Roosevelt’s mother of typhoid fever.

Roosevelt fled to the badlands of the Dakota terrorities on a bison-hunting trip where prairie grass grew tall.

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