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I Know Strange Things

Posted in Random Personal Nonsense

Twice in the past 24 hours, I’ve “showed off” my presidential geekery on Twitter. One has to do with Grover Cleveland (the only president elected to non-consecutive terms) and the other recalls the fact that it’s ben 150 years since a Secretary of State went on to become president. I double-checked that one before posting.

It is an old habit, but not entirely my fault. You see, I became interested in history at a very early age when someone slipped a history book onto my elementary school reading list. From then on, I dug in, staying happily at the library next door to the grocery store while mom shopped, and reading everything they had about the presidency of the United States. I checked out books, and either took home or semi-memorized encyclopedia entries (I loved me some World Book) about each president. For my crowning single-digit age achievement, I learned to say the names of the presidents (middles included) non-stop, and all in order. It is this last part that calls up a memory of my dad. When he learned I could do this parlor trick, he began having me recite at family reunions. The impact was greatest because I would say my piece to one relative at a time, not to the assembled group. It meant dad could brag on me over and over again.

The thing is that while I appreciated the fuss dad made, it did get to be embarrassing after the first few times. And you see, that’s what the people want; a performer who can be a little humble in the face of her own achievements.

Oh, I can still recite the presidents, though a few have been added since I was eight. Perhaps I should have appended that to my eulogy for dad. I bet he would have liked it.

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