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‘FDR' in Barstow
BARSTOW • When he’s impersonating President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Michael J. Moore’s favorite part of the job is the reaction he gets from veterans of World War II.
The 65-year-old Moore, who lives at the Barstow Veterans home, was an Army Colonel and is a member of 12 different reenactment groups. His knack for impersonating FDR often resonates with WWII veterans.
“I’ve done FDR at the USS Iowa, at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, over at the Patton museum, a lot of places,” Moore said. “The best part is when you talk to a Word War II veteran, and he looks at you like this (stare of disbelief), and then he goes (wide-eyed smile) and he recognizes you as FDR.”
Moore, along with Veteran’s Home residents April Moon and Roy Chandler, dressed up in 1941-era clothing for the recent grand opening of the Uptowner Barber Shop on Main and Second Ave.
Although Moore said he doesn’t think he’s the identical image of FDR, many of the people he meets while in costume think quite differently.
“I’ve had them come up and say ‘thank you, you saved my grandparents’ home,’ or ‘you saved my parents home,’ ” Moore said. “One guy was so excited, his daughter said ‘dad, he’s not really FDR.’ .... My wife told her ‘at this moment, he is (FDR) to him. Your father is lost in the moment.’
Moore said it’s heartwarming to hear “the thanks that they tell you. They don’t recognize that you’re an impersonator. You’re Franklin Roosevelt to them. It makes you get tears in your eyes.”