Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #82
…This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley…
“The Mayor is above gossip!” he declares, while lifting the receiver off his wall hung Bell invention.
As he cranks the handle on the side, a light lights on the Quincy switchboard. Millie’s job is to know whom each light belongs. “Where can I direct your call, Mr. Mayor?” she asks dutifully.
“I have a long distance call to DC 7-1900, if you please.”
“Why that number would get you Washington. The letters D and C tell me that.” She can hardly contain her curiosity.
“I am aware where I am calling, Millie, please connect me.” He is attempting to stifle further inquisitory participation.
She does so, in spite of her nosey type leanings. It solicits this response: “This is the Executive Mansion. Who is calling and what the nature of your business is.” Millie nearly topples from her chair.
“This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley. He is expecting my call.”
“Incoming operator, please vacate your connection.” Millie is foiled by electronics superior to hers. “Yes, Mr. Love, you are on the list of incoming callers. The President is attending the First Lady with afternoon tea in the Green Room.”
Herb knows, as do most interested Americans, that Ida McKinley has been an invalid, ever since her four month old daughter and mother died in the same year. The death of their older daughter in 1876, three years later pushes her over the edge. The President’s devotion to her is legendary. “I do not wish to disturb him. Perhaps you can ring me at a more convenient time.”
Without a word from the mansion operator, a strong male voice comes on the line. “Thank you for your prompt reply, Mr. Love. May I presume that this fine day finds you well and that you will rescue me from the vexing problem I am facing?”
Direct and to the point. Love presumes that presidents do not deal much in small talk; pressing matters must fill in any cracks of his day. The Boer War in South Africa, as well as the Boxer Rebellion in China, which has seen numerous United States citizens murdered in a purging of foreigners, must certainly consume his days and nights. Adding to that, the care of his treasured wife and one wonders when this man has to take a breath.