Monday, February 21, 2011

A Fine Time for a Sale

So. It's that time of year again. American kids, postal employees, and bank tellers have a three day weekend and merchants of mattresses and major appliances will post big, cut-rate newspaper ads for big sales. And it appears that I am to be interviewed on Coast to Coast AM between 10 and 11 PM, Pacific Time, tonight, 21 February, thanks to my book, Ghosts of the White House. (I asked the producer, 'Have you guys seen my book? It isn't so very dashed spooky.' I'm sure that this fact has pissed off many a kid who'd shelled out perfectly good money for it only to discover that it held no bona fide spirits who walk by night, haunting the halls of the place where they'd suffered in life then found no rest, not even in death. Ah well. Too bad, so sad. Poor kids. Sucks to be you. I'm not above luring innocent young citizens into learning more about their nation's leaders.) By the way, Abraham Lincoln is said to be the most restless of spirits.
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who was spending the night in FDR's
White House, said that he (Abe, not Franklin) came and sat down on the
edge of her bed. Cool! But you think that the poor soul would be able to
rest comfortably in the Blue Beyond after all he went through. Here's what
Bess Truman, my former neighbor, had to say about the subject: "Now, about
those ghosts. I'm sure they're here and I'm not half so alarmed at meeting up
with any of them as I am at having to meet the live nuts I have to see every day."
I'd be willing to bet thatPresident Obama feels the same way.
Anyway, all of this is Presidential hoohah is because both Mary Washington and Nancy Lincoln gave birth to their significant boy babies in February. For years their sons' birthdays were set aside to honor their legacies. Back in 1971, during Mr. Nixon's administration, when I was a doofy college coed, it was decided that we citizens of the republic for which we stand might better spend at least part of the third Monday in February noting the lives and times of all of the men who've been chosen to occupy the highest office in the land. Might as well. It is, after all, Presidents Day.
I figure that each and every one of these gents stands for a chapter in the story of the nation. As I was telling a cafetorium full of young North Carolinians just this past week, if you know a little more about the life & times of President No. 8 (1837-1841), Martin "Old Kinderhook" Van Buren (1782-1850 - a span that went from the conclusion of America's War for Independence to the Gold Rush. Just think of it!), for instance, you can't help but find out a little about the Republic of Texas and our government's treachery in its treatment of the tribes living in America's Southeast. Seminole chieftain, Osceola comes to mind. Trans-Atlantic steamship service and a truly dreadful recession, known as the Panic of 1837. Expanding railroads & canals. Samuel Morse's telegraph and the murder of abolitionist/newspaperman Elijah P. Lovejoy. The growing westward movement. The Mormon War. The capture of the Amistad and the coronation of Queen Victoria. Of course, I could go on (Chopin, Mendelssohn, awesome, poofy ladies' fashions, invention of the bicycle), but you get the idea. Read up on some of these
guys. They're worth the knowing.
Sure, many a writer and/or illustrator has turned out handsome books about the Presidents, such as So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George & David Small. I particularly like that one AND Kathleen Krull's & Kathryn Hewitt's Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought).
Ah well. Enough of this. I hear there's a good deal to be had on a washing machine.

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