It's not just about Eugene Allen. The book is also about his wife, Helene. Without her, maybe there would not have been a man who served eight administrations for thirty-four years. Helene is wonderful too. In the biography she does die before Eugene Allen. However, it's as if she held on to her life until certain important circumstances came about for her to witness. It was her dream to see Eugene Allen recognized as an important American role model. She knew the important part he had played during the Civil Rights movement. For many important events she was there by his side. For example, the State dinner at the White House with the Reagans and other events. She walked beside him as a well bred, sophisticated lady, humble enough to give the spotlight to him when she deserved to be recognized with him.
Often at graduation ceremonies those relatives and friends who supported the graduate are asked to stand. Then, people clap because they realize the graduate couldn't have reached for that diploma or Bachelor's Degree without the people who supported him or her. This is Helene. She was with Eugene Allen every single moment. In the movie when the son looks at his father and speaks to his father like he is nothing the mother and wife who would have been Helene quickly jumps to her husband defense and says words like "everything you have today is because of the work of a butler!"
So it's impossible to talk about the biography or the movie without applauding the life of the wife, mother and activist, Helene Allen. For eight administrations through thirty four years Eugene Allen didn't miss one day of work. He heard harmful words spoken by presidents during the days in the White House. He couldn't say a word. He had to remain cool, calm and collected. He worked in the White House while his son was in Vietnam. President Johnson, who was overseeing the whole war from a phone or in a conference room knew or didn't know Eugene Allen's life was on the line at that very time. I would have surely dropped a crystal goblet or silverware at this time knowing my son's life could be lost at any moment.
He worked in the White House with John F. Kennedy during the Civil Rights movement. Black people were being shut out of schools, chased by dogs and spit upon, but Eugene Allen continued to work and support his family. I see the man and his wife as noble and perfect role models for our young people. This biography is about the work ethic, about standing when you feel like caving in and not being able to tell about important events that will happen or not happen. Many times the neighbors would see Eugene Allen in the grocery store they would ask questions about important happenings on the news. He wouldn't voice a word, not a tidbit about what he knew. He was the essence of discretion.
I wrote about Helene not dying until significant situations took place in American History. She had the chance to vote for the first Black President Barack Obama. At Eugene Allen's funeral there were red roses to show that the White House knew he had stood beside Eisenhower and so many other presidents. He made those American Presidents lives comfortable while forgetting his personal comfort. Just as the Obamas recognized this great man, Eugene Allen, I want to recognize him too. He proves it doesn't matter the type of work we do it just matters how we do the work.
There is a tendency to look down on people in service like maids, butlers, waiters in restaurants or the help in a Macdonalds or the lady who cleans the rooms in a little known named motel in a rural area. However, she or he are enactments of daily greatness which means they sacrifice their time dailywithout a thought of gaining recognition. Perhaps, this is a chance for me to learn to smile at the next waitress who serves me a salad or to smile at the bus driver who has my life in his hands for a few moments. It might be the only smile they will receive that day or the next day. I think Eugene Allen and Helene and their son would want me to appreciate the unappreciated. thehill.com/capital-living/cover-stories/314195with-with-wil-haygood-author-of-the-butler-witness-to-history-,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/01/AR2010040103444.htmlwashingtonpost.2010/04/01/,starsentertainment.prah-winfrey-interview-on-gloria-in-lee-daniels-the-butler/
In the end it's amazing that this couple, Eugene Allen and Helene Allen, walked us straight into a win for the first Black President. Both of them had no doubt who should sit in the Oval Office the next time. If they were awakened and brought from their graves, I know they would smile to know the Obamas won a second election too. President Obama won not just four years but a second term making a total of eight years.
I and my husband can say with pride that we also voted both times for the Obamas. Knowing where we had come from in the sixties during the death of Martin Luther king, the death of the three little girls while in Sunday School it was impossible to make any other decision. And that is the way the Allens felt.
Mr. Eugene Fields also attended the inauguration. It was an icy cold day, but he was there to witness American History. It was a a wild and wonderful day when a dream proved not to be impossible. I had the chance to witness my first girl grandbaby's birth on Inauguration day. I stood in front of the television rocking my newest bundle of joy. My daughter-in-law watched from the hospital bed. She had just given birth hours earlier. Her mother stood beside her anxious to make her daughter comfortable. My son sat close by wondering what would it take to be a good father.
It was a special day for Eugene Allen to walk in the White House and begin his work as a butler those many years ago. It was a special day when President Obama walked in the White House to begin his work as a President. The two men led and lead a powerful moment in time. Unforgettable. Because of my memory of Helene Allen and her son, the supporters in the background I choose to always remember the whole Obama family who must daily strengthen their husband, father and son-in-law as he gets up from his sleep to make another decision in the interest of the American public.