This week I am working on my section about "Great Mama's Boys in History." Let me clarify that I don't mean all these men were great, simply that they were prominent historical figures who were intensely close to their Mamas. Yesterday, when reading the autobiography of General Douglas MacArthur, I came across this poem she gave him while he was a student at the Military Academy.
“Do you know that your soul is of my soul such a part
That you seem to be fiber and core of my heart?
None other can pain me as you, son, can do;
None other can please me or praise me as you.
Remember the world will be quick with its blame
If shadow or shame ever darken your name.
Like mother, like, son, is saying so true,
The world will judge largely of mother by you.
Be this then your task, if task it shall be
To force this proud world to do homage to me.
Be sure it will say, when its verdict you’ve won
She reaps as she sowed: ‘This man is her son!’”
Of course, back in those days, many women lived vicariously through the accomplishments of their husbands and sons. But these words transcend even that phenomenon to a level of profound over-identification and just plain creepiness.
After a long and distinguished military career, MacArthur was fired by another Mama's Boy, Harry Truman. But we'll get to Harry on another day.