I loved the light on the top of these stairs in Henry Ford’s cottage (The Mangoes). And then below, most of you would know that I fell in love with the idea of Mina Edison writing long letters to friends and family at this desk in the sitting room of her Seminole Lodge. There were two homes included in Edison’s lodge. This is the house that many of their guests stayed in while visiting Ft. Myers. President Harding was often a visitor and stayed in this home.
Another thing that really struck me was how simply these people lived by today’s standards. Yes, all that they had was shipped to Ft. Myers from around the world but I can’t imagine any of America’s millionaires living this type of life style today. The pool was small and elevated. The tearoom floor below was tiny and very simple and the moonlight garden (in an earlier post) is the size of a postage stamp.
We really have so much more today, but it seems that we want even more! When we don’t get it, we end up feeling discontent and disadvantaged. Wonder what these men and their wives would do with all the advantages we have today? I’m not too sure that we are better off for all that we have gained. I do want to add a note here: these men were “self-made” men. They did not necessarily believe in God or that we have souls. At least that is what I have discovered about Edison. For him, when life ended, that was it, which is sad. One thing we can say, however, is that while he was alive he certainly knew how to enjoy the company of his friends.
Thomas Edison’s library and living area had some of the first electric lights. These are original to the house. I guess he just invented electricity and then had it installed in his home!
I have debated about including this story about Edison and Ford for a couple of weeks. It continues to make me laugh. So, I thought you would enjoy it. It’s from the archives of the Detroit News: “[Once while] en route to a new campsite on a rainy day, the Lincoln touring car carrying Harding, Ford, Edison, Firestone and naturalist Luther Burbank bogged down in deep mud on a back road in West Virginia. Ford’s chauffeur went for help and returned with a farmer driving an ancient Model T. After the Lincoln was yanked from the mire, Ford was the first to shake the farmer’s hand.
“I guess you don’t know me but I’m Henry Ford. I made the car you’re driving.”
|A 1921 camping trip. From left, seated: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren G. Harding, Harvey S. Firestone and George Christian. The man standing is unidentified.|
Firestone chimed in, “I’m the man who made those tires.” Then he introduced two of the campers: “Meet the man who invented the electric light — and the President of the United States.”
Luther Burbank was the last to shake hands. “I guess you don’t know me either?” he asked.
“No,” said the farmer, “but if you’re the same kind of liar as these other darn fools, I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you was Santa Claus!”