Archive for April 10th, 2013

April 10, 2013

My REAL Thomas Jefferson Crush!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

JeffersonI have many passions but do not have many obsessions – my husband, Chester M. Eliasz-Solomon, is my main “can NOT ever live without addiction“. Which by the way, he insists I never get over. However, for a decade or two – beginning in the 1980’s, I had a big time fascination for – one could almost say “crush” on our Third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson. What’s not to like? The man was handsome, erudite, successful and powerful – why surely all the qualities us gals look for in a mate. Thomas Jefferson was born 13 April 1743 – as we approach the anniversary of his birth, I want to reflect on why he is still such an attractive man – to me personally, as well as in reference to this great nation that he help form. We hear much about our Founders “original intent” concerning the U.S. Constitution but how do we REALLY know the internal melange of these men? Personal life is so much a definitive corridor to that which anyone holds dear and true – so is not that also a factor in knowing what Jefferson and his fellows meant as a template for America? I believe it is … so here is my own take away from the years that  I spent fawning over, reading about, visiting his dwelled in places both here and aboard that define Thomas Jefferson.

One of the most important facts I learned about Jefferson was his rejection of any doxology – he was nearly an agnostic. I know that the extremist on the religious right of our America demographic are constantly attempting to impute a Christian adherence for the men who designed and established this country. However it is simply not the REAL fact – in my home library there is a copy of The Jefferson Bible, subtitled “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”, written by Thomas Jefferson  – which he began in the White House 1804 and completed 1819. You are probably thinking that such an effort REALLY does denote a religiosity – however it is nearly opposite in tonality. Jefferson saw Jesus as a story of absolute love and service, instead of believing in the miracle of the Annunciation. The President’s redactions of the Gospels is stunning – one must keep in mind what REAL audacity this man must have had to even contemplate taking a razor in hand as he literally cut and pasted as an editing devise that which he found disingenuous in the bible’s text. Without question the fact that Jefferson was a rationalistic fellow allowed him an almost dispassionate analysis of the New Testament. No one need be offended nor think me insulting of the Christian faith … in fact through Jefferson, a Jew like myself finds pleasant comfort in knowing the REALLY humanist attitude and ideals of that faith is how our third President informed his life and leadership decisions.

I am a “head over heels” in love with bookish men like my husband – show me your library Sir and I am yours. Bigger really does matter with a man’s book collection – hubby and I decided from first year of marriage that any home we owned would have a library as a primary room. So no surprise that my admiration for Thomas Jefferson is furthered in depth by his near compulsion to read, own and promote books – volumes and volumes of the written word were his constant refuge and life long companions. This great American bibliophile amassed through collecting thousands of books for his home library at Monticello in Virginia  – I have visited there more than once and felt entranced by volumes still present and the curatorial efforts ongoing as they best believe Jefferson would have wanted. Being a polymath allowed this lawyer and scholar purview into classics and literature from many cultures and origins of translations – knowledgeable of many languages gave our American Jefferson both insight and lessons from other times and lands. In my heart – after much study and concentration – I REALLY believe Thomas Jefferson hoped for a literate American citizenry – schooled and guided by a multiple of disciplines. Our third President would most definitely be outraged and distressed by the anti-scientific “Tea Party” rhetoric of late – shameful to a man of letters like himself and tragic in his mind as a contemplation of his well designed ideals for this new country whose very format he helped design. Our National Library of Congress was established by Thomas Jefferson – it is his own personal book collection that ceded this amazing cultural institution, that we are all still benefactors of today.

My husband and I have been waiting – somewhat impatiently – for our children to be of an age where they will fully enjoy our long planned trip following the Lewis & Clark Expedition. This event that changed forever the United States geography was decided on by President Jefferson – hence we have the western part of our vast country. Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase  in 1803 – a territory from France and then sent the explorers further on to seek and find what we now know as our diverse and multiple geographic splendorous nation. A visionary can easily describe this energetic man – probably without many equal in kind, Thomas Jefferson designed, morphed and plotted the United States of America – knowingly and at times happenstance but either way a REAL gloried legacy to be sure.

Eclectic well described Thomas Jefferson – I am grateful that my own parents believed and taught us/their children and grandchildren and I now my own children that being versatile – many faceted in ones life is a route to REAL happiness. Renaissance man for certain is the often invoked verbiage when scholars describe Jefferson … statesman, lawyer, inventor, gardener, writer, devoted husband and father and so much more. Yes we all are aware of his now well documented romance and resulting off spring with Sally Hemmings – what to make of it I am not sure and yet I am prayerful – at least wanting of it having been REAL affection at play between those two people. Of course, as myself being the daughter of a civil rights activist I remain concerned – almost daunted by the controversy of whether or not our third President was REALLY committed to ending the horrid institution of slavery in the then new nation. Now here, as I admit early on in this post as being a bit of a T.J. “groupie“, I have to confess to anxiously waiting for and viewing more than once the 1995 film starring Nick Nolte, Jefferson in Paris with Hemmings by his side. Then I insisted on seeing places where Jefferson visited while in France – I have traveled to that country quite a few times before and since my T.J. tour obsession but still think of his times there as I stroll the streets of Paris until this day.

So as we celebrate the 270 year anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth – I invoke Marilyn Monroe to J.F.K., as I sing to the heavens “Happy Birthday Mr. President!” and say thank you, thank you, thank you. In my year end (2013) memoir, “Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life!” all my “crushes” – my cerebral REAL life devotions will be fully explained and detailed; until then go visit Jefferson’s Monticello home in Virginia or D.C. Library of Congress this Summer 2013 and remember to say that you too are grateful that G-d placed a man like Thomas Jefferson on this Earth, at the time when the world so needed a new form of government, founded in The United States of America!!!

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