When Kaye Eisenhower Morgan of Arroyo Grande began college in 1952, her uncle Ike (Dwight D. Eisenhower) was running for president of the United States. She tried to hide her last name from her dorm mates, not wanting the notoriety.
At one event she heard a girl say, “I hear there is an Eisenhower girl on campus and I hear she got drunk at a frat house,” an untrue rumor. Eventually, the truth that Kaye was an Eisenhower came out, and she had to fend off suitors interested only in her name.
In January 1953, Kaye and her family attended the inauguration of “Uncle Ike.” Although not often in the White House, the family was taken through the mansion by Mamie Eisenhower (Ike’s wife), who showed them the Red Room, Blue Room, Gold Room, Oval Office, etc. It was yet to be redecorated by the Eisenhowers. Kaye was 18 years old.
Dwight Eisenhower, born in 1890, was the third of seven sons born to David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Stover Eisenhower. Paul, the fifth son, died at 10 months. Kaye’s father, Earl, was son number six, born in 1898. Ike and his brothers were brought up in Abilene, Kan., in modest circumstances.
Kaye’s book, “The Eisenhower Legacy: a Tribute to Ida Stover Eisenhower and David Jacob Eisenhower,” includes a forward by John D. Eisenhower, Dwight and Mamie’s son.
It chronicles the early lives of Ike’s parents, David and Ida, beginning before the Civil War up to the 1940s.
Arthur, the eldest Eisenhower son, married a “tramp,” and one day he came home to find her in bed with another man. He was so angry he went off to buy a gun to presumably shoot her.
Fortunately, two of his brothers, Earl and Edgar, showed up to visit just in time to stop him. Arthur eventually divorced the “tramp” and went on to a second marriage.
In 1945, after War World II was over, “the whole world was exploding,” recounted Kaye. There was a tremendous homecoming celebration and welcome for Ike, attended by his brothers and their families at Union Station in Kansas City.
The whole family then boarded a special “homecoming train” that took them from Kansas City to Abilene, where the grand reunion was held at the old homestead. On this very crowded train, Kaye (then about 10) remembers passengers moving aside to let the Eisenhowers through to the dining car and treating them with the greatest respect.
Kaye is working on her next book, which will focus on “the things that happened to me because I am an Eisenhower” and also on her uncles and how they grew up.
For example, she got to be Apple Blossom Queen in Winchester, Va., at 18 because the queen had to be a relative of someone famous. She was asked to be queen in other contests, and thus, her college education was interrupted. She was pre-med, but unable to keep up with her studies.
To contact Kaye for a copy of the first book, “The Eisenhower Legacy,” call 805-202-8641 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.