Yet Mr. Gehry then went on to present changes that mainly affect the memorial’s bas-relief sculptures — changing them to three-dimensional statues – and did not alter the most controversial element. “I still believe that the sculpture of Eisenhower as a young man looking out on his future accomplishments is a powerful image,” Mr. Gehry wrote....From the Dwight D. Eisenhower website:
The image of Eisenhower as a young man is based on remarks he made in 1945 upon his return from World War II to his hometown of Abilene, Kan., where he referred to himself as having once been “a barefoot boy.” There is also a photograph at that age that Mr. Gehry said he drew upon.
Even by the standard of the day, the Eisenhower home on southeast Fourth Street in Abilene, Kansas, was small, modest, and-with six growing boys underfoot-crowded....
From their mother, Ida, Dwight and his brothers learned to cook, clean, iron, and sew. On Sunday, the boys were responsible for family meals entirely. David, their father, worked long hours as a refrigeration engineer at nearby Belle Springs Creamery. Still, there was never money enough. Ida recycled David's old clothes for the boys. To his embarrassment, Dwight sometimes had to wear his mother's old high-top, buttoned shoes to school or go barefoot. To earn money for extras, the Eisenhower boys grew and sold vegetables, door to door. For variety, they peddled hot tamales from their mother's Texas recipe.