A Presidential Reason to not Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Bo Hammond History

TR’s Valentine’s Day Diary Entry © Library of Congress

It’s that time of year again. That day of the year where society says you have to over pay for a meal or buy a stupid card. Valentine’s Day is as inevitable as death and taxes, and only slightly more enjoyable. While it’s the bane of many since middle school, there is a story that will make you grateful for your worst V-day. This tale is also a useful excuse for not celebrating at all (out of respect of course). We must reach back to the young love of the most badass and well read President of our history: Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1884, Teddy was an idealist state legislator in the New York assembly. While fighting the good fight in Albany, an urgent message arrived for TR. His mother was terribly ill and dying. He traveled back to NYC as fast as the trains could carry him. He arrived at his home at 6 West 57th Street to a dark situation. In the early hours of February 14th, Roosevelt’s mother, Mittie, passed away. Upstairs his young wife, Alice Lee, was suffering from kidney failure, a condition known then as Bright’s disease. At 2pm that very day, Theodore lost his wife. Only two days earlier Alice gave birth to their first child who shared her name.

The two most important women in his world were gone. In his pocket diary he had little to say on the 14th, except for a black “X” and “The light has gone out of my life.” For the remaining decades of his life he would not talk about or even whisper Alice’s name.

So what’s the moral of this story? I guess what I’m trying to say is to disregard all the pink and red crap, leave the candy on the shelf, and treasure that person that makes you the best version of yourself. Then do that everyday until you can’t.

Interested in learning more about Theodore Roosevelt?

Join our Drinking History walking tour in Washington, D.C. for more stories of TR, the rough rider of love! (Phrasing?) Find out about Teddy’s recovery from Valentine’s Day in the Dakota badlands as a cowboy.