“I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches — all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study.”
Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, began living in the White House when the building was in great need of repairs. In a letter to his wife, Bess, who was away visiting relatives with their daughter, Truman imagines that the noises and drafts coursing through the White House were in fact being caused by ghosts.
THE WHITE HOUSE
June 12, 1945
Dear Bess:- Just two months ago today, I was a reasonably happy and contented Vice-President. Maybe you can remember that far back too. But things have changed so much it hardly seems real.
I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches — all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth — I can just imagine old Andy and Teddy having an argument over Franklin. Or James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce deciding which was the more useless to the country. And when Millard Fillmore and Chester Arthur join in for place and show, the din is almost unbearable. But I still get some work done.
Hope the weather lets up and you will be able to do some work on the house. The Gibson boy should have been taken care of long ago. I’ll see what’s happened. I’m not able to do as many things for my friends now as I did when I was just a dirty organisation Democrat and a County Judge.
Guess you and Helen will have a grand time. Hope you do. We are working on Dr. Wallace. Glad everybody was in his right mind at the family party. Undoubtedly they were walking the straight and narrow for your mother. But I’m sure you had a nice time anyway.
That address mixed up is causing me some embarrassment (if that’s the way you spell that blushing word.) I addressed a letter to you at 4701 Conn. Ave. Independence Mo., and another one 219 North Delaware, Washington, D. C. Now it seems I sent one to the Rolands. The boys in the House here didn’t catch that one but they did the other two.
I’ll have Reathal attend to the chores you suggest. I haven’t seen her but twice since you left. She comes in after I go over to the office, usually goes out to lunch and doesn’t come back until I am gone again and then goes home before I get over here.
Had Charlie Ross and Rosenman to lunch yesterday. We worked on my San Francisco speech. ,that date is postponed until next week now on account of the slow wind-up and Gen. Eisenhower’s visit.
Write me when you can – I hope every day.
Lots of love.