Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.
I didn't experience a day off for Presidents' Day until my second year at Dixie.
Our legislature is always slow.

(And my memories)

I was born in 1958.
Eisenhower was a 5 star general, and supreme commander
of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.
He was in his 6th year as president when I was born.
He was president until I was 2.

LDS President Ezra Taft Benson was the
Secretary of Agriculture for 8 years, while being a member of
the Quorum of 12 Apostles at the same time.
I have no memory of him while he was president.
I do remember him a lot after he was president.  He died
in 1969 when I was in 6th grade...2 months after
LDS President David O. McKay passed away.

 John F. Kennedy was president from 1961-1963.
For me, ages 2-5.
He was a war hero in World War II.
He won a Pulitzer Prize.
He was a Congressman and a Senator.

It's funny what I remember.
I remember 2 very distinct events about him.
1.  When Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to him.
It was 1962.  We were at Aunt Virginia's house in Salt Lake City.
2.  President Kennedy's funeral.  1963.  I was in kindergarten in St. George.
Reid and I were home with the mumps.
Grandma Mitchell was living with us, and taking care of us while we were home.
I remember 2 things about the funeral.  The riderless horse
with the boot turned backwards, and little John-John, age 3, saluting
his father's casket as it went by.
My mom said that the faculty had to wear all black to school
the day of the funeral.

Lyndon B. Johnson was president from 1963-1969.
For me, kindergarten - 6th grade...most of my elementary years.
He was a Congressman, and Vice President to John F. Kennedy.
Before politics, he was a teacher!
He became president when Kennedy was assassinated.
Johnson was always on tv about the Viet Nam War.
I also remember him announcing on tv that he would not run for
a second term.

A funny story.
I was in 2nd grade.  My mom came home from school, telling
us about one of her students who kept saying his uncle was the
President of the United States!
She would pacify him..."Sure he is!"
One day, his mother came in to play the piano for the kids
to sing.  She had never met the mother.
When she walked in, my mom nearly passed out!!!
She looked just like her sister, Lady Bird Johnson!!!

Richard M. Nixon   #37
Richard Nixon was president from 1969-1974
5th grade - sophomore in high school.
Nixon had been governor of California, a Congressman and
Vice President to Dwight Eisenhower.
He lost his first presidential bid to John F. Kennedy.

President Nixon, I thought, was a good president!
Man landed on the moon.
He got the soldiers out of Viet Nam.
First US President to visit China and the Soviet Union.

While running for his 2nd term, some of his people
broke into the Democratic Headquarters at an apartment/office complex
called "Watergate."
Well, Nixon knew all about it!!!
Not sure why this was even done.
He was reelected in a landslide!!!

In the summer of 1973, there were Congressional hearings.
That meant, no tv!
At that time, we had 5 channels:
2 (NBC) 4 (ABC) 5 (CBS)  these were the networks, of which the hearings were held on.
Also, 7 and 11...PBS channels.

First and only US president to resign from office.

Congressman Gerald R. Ford became vice president
when Spiro Agnew resigned.  Some problem I think with taxes.
When Nixon resigned, he became the first and only president
who had never been elected by the people, or Electoral College.
He was president from 1974-1977.
Junior in high school - Freshman in college.

After being president for one month, he gave Nixon a full
Presidential Pardon!
Just after that, in the same month, he had 2 assassination attempts
on his life...both by women.  One had been in the
Charles Manson gang.

He was president when I graduated from high school and
during the Bicentennial...200th anniversary of our country.
One of his sons attended Utah State University.
When I was a junior at BYU, he came and spoke at BYU.
Even though he was a former president, it was a great honor to see him!

Jimmy Carter was president from 1977-1981.
He was president from Freshman in college - Year #1 of teaching.
He had been the governor of Georgia.
He was also a peanut farmer.
He helped with peace in the Middle East.

The 1976 presidential election was my first time voting!
The voting age had been lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971.
I was 17 when I voted.
I was home for the "Deer Hunt Vacation" my freshman
year at Dixie.
I voted at the county building in Provo by absentee ballot.
The reason I could vote at 17 was because it was absentee,
and I turned 18 on October 26.  This was about 1 1/2
weeks before Election Day.
I voted for Gerald Ford.

Carter has been a great former president!
He won a Nobel Peace Prize.  He helps with elections
in countries that are not a democracy.
He helps to build homes for "Habitat for Humanity."
And, he's a Sunday School teacher in Plains, Georgia.

I loved Ronald Reagan!
He was president from 1981-1989
Year #1 of teaching - Year # 9.
The day he was inaugurated, the US hostages that had
been held since November, 1979, were freed.
His first inauguration was the only one I
have missed seeing.
In 1981, there was no cable where
Alpine Elementary was located!

He was an actor.  He was the narrator for
"Death Valley Days"...featuring "20 Mule Team Borax."
He played Knute Rockne, and helped MC with Art Linkletter
and Walt Disney on the opening day of Disneyland!
He was also the Governor of California.

One month after becoming president, there was
an assassination attempt on his life.

He was known as the "Great Communicator" and loved jelly beans.
He gave the Mormon Tabernacle Choir the nickname of
"America's Choir."
And, of course, the best of all:
"Mr. Gobachev.  Tear down this wall!!!"

In his later years, he suffered from Alzheimer's.
I have an invitation to his inauguration!
Grandma Howard received it for her work with the
Republican Party.  She gave it to me!

George Bush was president from 1989-1993.
Year #9 - Year #13

President Bush had been the head of the CIA,
Ambassador to UN.
Envoy to China.
Vice-President under Ronald Reagan.

He was president during the Gulf War.
He also had a program called,
"1,000 Points of Light," volunteers who were helping to
solve America's social problems.

Funniest part? (or worst)
He was at a state dinner for leaders of Japan, when he threw up.
Of course, it was caught on video tape!

His son, George, was the 43rd President of the United States.
Another son, Jeb, was governor of Florida.

On his 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays, he went skydiving!
At age 92, he did the "coin toss" for
Super Bowl LI.

Bill Clinton was president from 1993-2001.
Year #13 - Year #21
He had been governor of Arkansas.

He had a hard time with liking too many women.
He was impeached by the House of Representatives, and
acquitted by the Senate.
Famous lie:
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky!"
She was an intern at the White House, and having sexual relations with him!
It was hard being a teacher during this time.
Every child in my class knew exactly what they did!  Bleh!!!
Other than a lot of dishonesty and womanizing, he was a pretty good president!
(My brother's Eagle Scout certificate was signed by Richard Nixon.  His
oldest son's Eagle Scout certificate was signed by Bill Clinton.)

After leaving office, his wife, Hillary, became a senator from New York,
ran for President of the United States, and was
Secretary of State under Obama.
She was Secretary when Osama bin Laden was killed.
The second time she ran for president, she was the Democratic nominee for president,
but lost to President Trump.

Clinton has been a great former president.

During the 2000 presidential elections,  Bush vs Gore,
there were many problems with the voting in Florida.
Recounts were called for.
There were problems with the "punch ballots"...chads, and hanging chads.
We did not know who would be the next president for a month!
Now that was weird!!!

George W. Bush was president from 2001-2009.
Year # 21 - Year #29
His father was George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.
His brother, Jeb, has been governor of Florida, and also
ran for he President of the United States.
He had been governor of Texas, and also a part owner
of the Texas Rangers baseball team from 1989-1998.

He was president at the time of the September 11, 2001
terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
9-11 changed our country forever!
He came to Salt Lake to participate in the Opening Ceremonies
of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

I also got to see him in person!
August 30, 2006.
Don Ward gave me a ticket.
I went to the smaller airport.
There was nothing like seeing Air Force 1 descend!!!
It was great to see Former President Gerald Ford at BYU.
But, there's nothing like seeing the current president!!!


Barrack Obama is the first African American president.
More specifically, the first biracial president.  His father is black, mother is white.
He is also the first US president who is younger than me!  YIKES!
Born in 1961.

President of the United States from 2009 - 2017.
Year #29 - Year #33 of teaching, plus 3 1/2 years of retirement.

When he was inaugurated, his daughters were in 5th and 2nd grades.
It's always good to have a 5th grader in the White House!
He was a community organizer, a state senator, and US senator for 3 years.
That was it for his experience.

He beat Governor Mitt Romney for his second term.
(Head of 2002 Olympics, Governor of Massachusetts, and LDS!)

Donald J. Trump is the first president who has not served in public
office, or had been a military leader. 

President of the United States from January 2017.
Year #4 of retirement.

President Trump has been a businessman, real estate mogul,  tv host, 
owner of the Miss USA & Miss Universe pageants, etc.
He has been on the cover of Playboy Magazine and was
the father of the rich kid in "The Little Rascals."  
He also created and hosted the tv shows, 
"The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice."

Two ex wives, both models.
Wife #2 was a contestant during 2016 on Dancing With the Stars.
Current wife, was also a model.
(Always had a model wife!)
3 children with wife #1.
1 child with wife #2.
These 4 children all graduated from the
University of Pennsylvania.
1 child with wife #3. . . currently a 5th grader.

Oldest person now to be elected president . . . 70.
Ran for president against the former
Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady.
Hillary Clinton.

Former presidents Herbert Hoover and Harry S Truman were
still alive when I was in elementary school.


Childhood home of George Washington...ages 6-22 ("Chopping down cherry tree")
Stafford County, Virginia

The original home does not stand...but they have excavated, and know the exact location and dimensions of the house. 

The excavating is the actual site!

Winchester, Virginia

George Washington used the building here as a military office from
September 1755 - December 1756
when he was 23 years old.

Washington Monument
Washington D.C.

Fairfax County, Virginia

I have been here twice.
2005 and 2012.

George Washington's remains are on the right.
Martha Washington's remains are on the left.

Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts


Braintree, now Quincy Massachusetts
John & Abigail lived here after he served as president.

He was also the architect. 
Charlottesville, Virginia  

I have been here twice.
2005 and 2012.

Jefferson Memorial
Washington D.C.

Orange, Virginia

Madison had a horse race track in front of his home.

James & Dolly with "Yours Truly"

Charlottesville, Virginia

Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts

This home is next to his father, John Adams's birthplace.

Charles City, Virginia 

Charles City, Virginia

Notice that both Harrison and Tyler are neighbors.

John Tyler was the vice president to William Henry Harrison.
Harrison died after one month in office!
His plantation is just down the road from Harrison's.
Tyler's grandson currently lives in the home!
John Tyler was president in the 1840s.
He was born in  1790.  
He had 15 children by two different wives.
His second wife was dating Tyler's son when they met.
Tyler's 13th child was born in 1865 at the end on the Civil War when he was 75.
That son had a son born in 1928 (the year my dad was born) when he was 63.
We've had 35 U.S. President's since John Tyler!

Some of our class in the guest house.
The white haired lady on the couch is Sister Georgia.
She is beginning her 55th year of teaching at a
Private Boys Catholic high school in Kentucky!

Washington D.C.
To escape the heat of the summer, Lincoln and his family lived in this cottage.
It was like "Camp David" is today.
Lincoln still traveled every day to the White House.
Many soldiers would sleep on the cottage lawn and were fed by the
 staff during the Civil War.

Statue of Lincoln and his horse

Washington D.C.

Staunton, Virginia

"Pierce Arrow"

Staunton, Virginia

(One of my district history teacher's wife is from 
this little town!  It's in the middle of the
Shenandoah Valley)

Pentagon, City
Washington D.C.
After he finished his terms as president...Woodrow Wilson's friends bought this house for him.
(He had no money to buy his own.)
Presidential pensions did not start until after Harry S Truman's presidency!

Toilet...notice there is no tank.  
To flush the toilet, you pulled a chain.
This was in the early 1920s.

Check out these old pantry items!

I have loved learning about the presidents my entire life!
I've read several books about them.
My 2 favorites are:
"Prophets and Presidents"
"When the White House Comes to Zion."

And . . . here's my favorite
"President's Day" picture:
All of the LDS presidents/prophets. (Minus President Nelson)
This is a corner of the Salt Lake Temple
Celestial Room.

No comments: