Today we speak of presidents — even those presidents we don’t even want to speak of:
Nixon, if he died in office, wanted final music. “California, Here I Come,” played “softly and slowly.” Meanwhile, the insiders called him “Gloomy Gus.”
Woodrow Wilson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams were atheists. As was Martha Washington who had a couple of husbands and kids. Martha obviously believed in Martha.
George Washington grew hemp. George Washington was also wealthy from real estate. Rich wife Martha probably left the memo for Jeff Bezos’ lady friend.
John Adams was great at playing marbles. Besides that he did nothing anybody remembers (except, since I’m sure he was a relative, he had a great last name).
The Roosevelts. Teddy’s daughter Alice smoked cigars. Eleanor, wife of tightwad FDR, carried a pistol in her purse after his 1932 election — but that probably had nothing to do with his being a chintz.
Jefferson insisted the Declaration of Independence be ratified July Fourth. Because that day the planets were astrologically aligned. History might say, helluva way to run the railroad.
Ulysses S. Grant’s missus suffered from eye problems. He found it endearing. Anybody stuck with that first name Ulysses would find anything endearing.
Warren Harding’s pastime was poker. How good he was, who knows. I only know Vegas never rushed to seat him at a high-stakes table.
Poor Carter suffered a bad case of hemorrhoids one Christmastime. Big time pain and suffering, but it wasn’t chic so he couldn’t gripe too much.
JFK was voted most likely to succeed at Choate. That’s although his class was 112 students while he only graduated 64th.
Andrew Jackson had many attributes of which I am unfamiliar. The one thing I do know is he believed the world was flat.
Coolidge, known to not be chatty, had enough noise around him. He kept lion cubs, a small hippo, an antelope and a donkey.
William Taft. Always chauffeured places but chunky Billy could not stuff himself behind his own steering wheel. Why? Because he was a big-time fatso.
McKinley. America’s first president to ride in an automobile. Whether he himself could drive, not sure. Ask Elon Musk.
Gerald Ford can be known for one main fact. Although very pleasant, the only chief of state to have two women try to assassinate him.
Clinton didn’t like an operator saying, “Yes, Mr. President?” each time he picked up his phone so busy Bill installed his own private lines.
Martin Van Buren kept a tiger at the White House. Succeeding occupants have sworn they, too, have dealt with animals there.
James Buchanan housed an elephant on the grounds. Which, of course, could be why Jackie Kennedy had to put in a Rose Garden that Melania has just redone.
A chief’s insane fear
Rutherford Hayes suffered an unusual phobia. Didn’t run in his family but he dealt with an ongoing fear of going insane.
LBJ? A doodler. He’d actually sketch figures with three heads. Also, in ’68 his daughter Lynda was ordered off a San Francisco cable car because she was eating an ice cream cone.
Lincoln. Even Daniel Day-Lewis who played him mightn’t know. Maybe only his dentist knew — but Abe had a big gap between his front teeth.
Eisenhower hated cats and ordered that any found on his Gettysburg estate were to be shot on sight. What kind of a wartime five-star general can be scared of pussycats?
Daddy George Bush gave China’s leader a pair of Texas cowboy boots. And, if it comes up in conversation, Dubya’s left arm was an eighth of an inch longer than his right.
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