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A Thank You. Presidents' Day. And More

Does anyone else have trouble tracking federal holidays after retiring? Sure, I have no problem with Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and the other big ones. But today, Presidents' Day, regularly escapes me.

One consequence is that I told at least one winner of Norm Jenson's book, Mostly Anecdotal: Stories, that I would put it in the mail today. Well, not so fast. No open post office today. So I will send them off tomorrow.

More on the holiday in a moment but first:


Yesterday ended the week-long, annual donation drive for Time Goes By and it was a resounding success. Like last year, I am dismayed at your generosity and there are so many of you that it's impossible to thank you individually.

So I must do it collectively here.

It was terrific to read the personal notes some of you included with your donations and I enjoyed seeing so many names from so many different places – worldwide – that are new to me. Apparently a whole lot of you read TGB and never comment.

Nothing wrong with that – I do it all over the internet - but it is still a load of fun to see all the new-to-me names.

So thank you all - those who donated and every one of you who didn't too. The community we have created here is unique among blogs and you, the readers did that by paying attention, sharing your information, your knowledge and your opinions that make the comments so rich and thoughtful and fun to read every day.

A TGB reader emailed a few days ago to tell me that Diane Schmidley of Schmidleysscribbling blog suffered a stroke, as her daughter explained on Diane's blog.

“This is Diane’s daughter. Mom has had a stroke and is in ICU at the hospital. If anyone reads this, please get the word out and keep her in your prayers. Thank you.”

On Saturday, her daughter posted again that Diane had been moved to the Acute Stroke Unit and further updated:

”She is at George Washington University Hospital in the District of Columbia if anyone is wanting to send flowers, and I can take cards to her. My postal address is: Connie Nystrom, P.O. Box 368, Rixeyville, VA 22737.”

Diane's name has often turned up here in the comments for many years. Of course, she is on our minds with prayers for a fast recovery.

The two-year mark since Donald Trump announced he was running for president of the United States is fast approaching. For a long time it was a joke to most Americans – me too.

No more and to way understate it, we now live in a world that is more uncertain that at any time, I think, during our long lives.

As a result of this new political circumstance, something in me has changed. Never much of a patriot, I took our system, our liberty and freedoms for granted. Not anymore.


Maybe it started for me with Khizr Kahn holding up his little copy of the American Constitution at the Democratic Convention in July. It's not that I haven't read it many times – I own several copies and I sometimes carry a small, portable one with me to read in odd moments.

But during the campaign, my feelings about it expanded into a much greater devotion to the freedoms it grants us that I had before. I have a strong sense, now that it is under attack, that I am responsible for it, that I must be part of doing what is necessary to protect the provisions that created this unique government that is - as we learned to say in school - of, by and for the people. The people.

I wonder if any of that has happened to you.

Among our 45 presidents, a few were great, some might be better forgotten and the majority did pretty well with the times they governed through. So for Presidents' Day, I looked around the internet for some pictures of how they lived in their time.

I found a page of photographs of some president's private homes now preserved as museums. I particularly like the interior shots. Here are a few – take a look at this one, the library in President Harry Truman's home in Independence, Missouri:


This is the dining room and tea parlor in Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson's home:


The music room in President George Washington's Mt. Vernon home.


Let's have one more – President Franklin D. Roosevelt's office at Springwood in Hyde Park, New York.


There are about 25 more presidential home photos at Business Insider. (You need to cancel your adblocker, if you have one, to see them.)


I love Thomas Jefferson's dining and tea room. All those windows make it so bright and airy.

I wonder why FDR had a quill pen and candles on his desk?

President's Day, got my copy of the Constitution, and a good book by Senator Bob Graham with Chris Hand, titled America The Owner's Manual, making Government work for you, both on Amazon, and saw this today, a post on FB, "
Joanie Leeds posted from Susan Keller, said to share, so here.

Happy Presidents Day! I can't believe I'm saying this, but it looks like Trump is actually making America great again. Just look at the progress made since the election:
1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.
2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.
3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They're holding signs and marching every week.
4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone's forgotten he's kind of a jerk.
5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.
6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of anti-depressants.
7. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.
8. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.
9. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust and cognitive dissonance.
10. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.
11. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of power and how checks and balances work.
12. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.
13. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead. (See #6)
14. White people in record numbers also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act.
15. Stephen Colbert's "Late Night" finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today's Jon Stewart.
16. "Mike Pence" has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.
17. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.
18. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.
19. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.
20. Live streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.
21. Massive cleanup of facebook friend lists.
22. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell's "1984" increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)
23. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.
24. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.
- Susan Keller (Copy and paste to share.) sharing here, and thank you for this Blog, m

I follow "OurPresidents" on Twitter, ran by the people at the Presidential Musuems and Archives. They tweet really interesting & fun information. I also follow the Presidential Museums individual accounts. I have visited only 3 libraries in person. However, do visit the websites often.

OK, now time to pop over a see the pictures, thanks Ronni for the link.

Silly me..I had forgotten we have been to President Washington's Mount Vernon, Jefferson's Monticello and Andrew Jackson's The Hermitage. So that is 6 I have visited. Hubby has been to Carter center.

We live in Missouri, proud of President Truman.

Funny, I was going to go to the post office today too. And ... we're all keeping Dianne in our thoughts and prayers.

My father was an immigrant and a patriot. He was grateful that the United States took him in in his time of need. He never forgot. He paid his taxes to the penny without complaint, he volunteered for service in the army and he served on public functions in our tiny village. He also flew the flag on all federal holidays. We had the tallest flagpole on the block.

Following his example, I have flown the Stars and Stripes whenever I lived in a place that allowed outdoor flags. Today is President's Day and for the first time I can't do it.

BTW Ronni... I truly hope you are not dismayed by our support. Overwhelmed perhaps... but not dismayed! Keep on keeping on!

And... look at all the books in the Truman and the T Roosevelt photos. They were readers! In the photos of *'s abode... I saw only bling. The bling president.

Like you, Ronni, that shot of Khizr Kahn holding up his copy of the [surprisingly small] Constitution made a lasting impression on me. Oh, to be back in the days of the Dem national convention, the Women's March[es] ----

I have always shied away even from the word "patriotism," fearing only bad things emerging from such a passion. I witnessed such in the 1950s with McCarthy, I studied and taught about Nazi Germany for many years and spent inordinately much energy on trips to Germany when I was a young, impulsive thing, trying [presumably from some odd and undeserved place of superiority] to get my older relatives and colleagues and such to explain how they put up with the horrors of National Socialism.

And now look where we are. I have always been wary of national passions -- and I still am, I guess --- but you are right, a reading of the Constitution tells us a great deal about what is good about this nation. And as wonderfully droll as Susan Keller is in her list of all the "good" that is emerging [thanks, Martha], how good it felt to laugh at it --- I feel terrible dread almost all the time now. And I am not alone.

So I went and found my one copy of the Constitution, sent to me once by the ACLU, and put it in the bag I carry when I head out. I need to be reminded, I need to learn. But I continue to be very very scared.

I do have the same problem with some of the holidays that were not around when I was a kid.

Of course these days I can't even remember which day of the week it is. (It's Monday -right?). I really get confused if we do church Saturday evening vs Sunday morning. Or if the trash pickup happens on a different day for some reason.

I really miss having separate Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. We always had both days off from school (NY). This "President's Day" thing just seems to generic. Like you get a participation ribbon for being President vs being recoginized for being a "good one". I meant do we really want to celebrate Millard Fillmore?

In volunteering at my local library over the past couple of years I have come across several books that I might not have otherwise. Over the last year I've picked up some that I might have ignored in the past, particularly in the area of history and cultures. One of the most interesting I've just recently acquired is, "The Opening of American Society: From the Adoption of the Constitution to the Eve of Disunion," a very well researched and documented retrospective by historian Robert Wiebe, of the country's first 70 years.

I'm only thirty pages in, and it's amazing how much I've already learned about the level of dysfunction and disruption in the country's first decade alone, even with only 30,000 scattered citizens. Federalists and states rights advocates have had strong antipathies all along, but most presidents seem to have been more civil, better educated and more willing to exercise reason than the one at the helm now. At the point I'm at now, our founding fathers are debating whether to ditch the Constitution and start again or find another way to resolve their differences. The more things change . . .

Oh lord - I just had another OMG thought.

Cities have Lincoln Ave and Washington Ave, Buchanan Street and McKinley Terrace and such.
Recently we have seen Ronald Regan Blvd start to appear and of course the Eisenhower Interstate.
Do you suppose we can get laws passed that says a president has to be dead for 100 years before you can name a street, any public building, park or public anything after them?

Those beautiful, warm interiors reflect such good taste. Plate them with solid gold and add some Italian marble and I'm sure SCROTUS would love them.

All the holidays pop up on my Google calendar, so I know when they roll around. But I still have to ask my son when the actual days off work occur. And I agree, Washington and Lincoln deserved to have their own special holidays. I'm not about to celebrate ALL the presidents.

For most of my life I was confident (and so naive) that with our constitutional separation of powers, our Congress and Supreme Court could be counted on to watch over and rein in any aberrant president. I'm very afraid now that it won't happen. The biggest danger to America today is not foreign terrorists. The biggest danger is in our own White House.

I do apologize for the fact that I intended to wish Diane a speedy recovery. I am so sad for her and hope she is not too uncomfortable. Thanks to her daughter for notifying us.

I REALLY enjoy this blog and definitely will make a donation even if it's a week or two after the official Donation Week! We're having some work done on our home that has gobbled up what remained of this month's "discretionary" funds.

Wishing Diane a return to health and hoping that she's being well cared for and is comfortable. Thank you to her daughter for sharing the information and for including contact information. I'll be sending a card when the P.O. opens again tomorrow.

I just listened again, for the first time in years, to Baz Luhrmann's "Free to Wear Sunscreen." There's a lot of good advice in that, and each time I listen I seem to be gobsmacked by a different part of it. Today it was the part about aging and how you remember things differently when you're older than how they were, one of those things being that when you're older you'll fantasize that politicians were noble in your youth. I may not live long enough to see it, but it would be interesting to know how that works out eventually for the youth of today. I don't feel that all the presidents of my younger days were noble, but many were, maybe even the majority. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama -- I had mostly positive feelings about these men when they governed the country and I mostly still do. But to see today, this holiday being celebrated by marchers as "Not My President" Day is truly mind-boggling.

At least once a year I would take a drive to Hyde Park NY (FDR's home and library)to remind me what a REAL president was like.

Love President Truman. Loved the relative modesty of the homes depicted. In other words, no gold plated bathrooms. No one who lived like kings.

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