Presidents' Day

Following 230 years of third Mondays in February.

Presidents’ Day 1914: Feb 16, a Monday.

1914 – February 16 :

YORBA LINDA, CA: Just over two months ago, Richard Nixon was born in the house his father built on the family’s lemon ranch. This property will become the Richard Nixon Library & Museum, but all anybody knows about it now is that it’s a mediocre lemon ranch.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI: Gerald Ford is six months old, his parents’ divorce is 8 weeks.

TAMPICO, IL: Ronald Reagan is 3 years old. Later on this year, he’ll carry his first US flag in Tampico’s Fourh of July parade.

JOHNSON CITY, TX: LBJ is six, living in a town named after his ancestors, enjoying first grade.

WEST POINT, NY: Eisenhower’s two new favorite activities are accumulating demerits, and bridge. His military record will improve, and bridge will become a favorite pastime for the rest of his life. There’s a ban on cigarettes, but cadets are allowed to smoke cigars or pipes in their rooms: Ike naturally takes up cigarettes. Staying close to West Point Football after his knee went bum in ’12, he’s currently head varsity cheerleader, and a coach for varsity football.

GRANDVIEW, MO: Harry Truman has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He arrives late to the county courthouse, and soon after, learns that his very favorite dear Aunt Ida has died. The lawsuit is postponed, and Harry immediately boards a train for the funeral. In transit, he writes a letter to his future wife, complaining about God having meddled in his plans: they were supposed to go out that evening. As the train ride was two days long, we can be relatively certain that he had a sandwich before it was over with. 50 years later, he writes in his memoirs that everyone liked Aunt Ida.

SOMEWHERE: FDR is currently serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and beginning to run for Senate.

BAY AREA, CA: Herbert Hoover has rented a house near Stanford University, as he’s been called to California to yet again save everyone from their financial woes. On days that he’s not saving Stanford from collapse, he’s saving California from the bankruptcies of San Francisco’s Sloss and Lilienthal families, whose collapse would have crippled the state’s economy.

BOSTON, MA: Calvin Coolidge has been president of the Massachusetts State Senate for five weeks.

SOMEWHERE: Warren Harding does things. He was a prominent dude at the time, and elected to the Senate in 1914, but there’s a lack of Harding action in the papers around the 16th. Exact information will eventually present itself.

THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, BRAZIL: Theodore Roosevelt, 55 years old, is chopping his way through the wilderness, head towards the mouth of The River of Doubt, so named on account of how nobody had yet managed to survey the thing without dying or turning back. When TR finishes, he’ll have been nearly killed by infection, several of his party will have been lost to snakebite or disease, and The River of Doubt will eventually be renamed to Roosevelt River. On Feb 16th, he’s on break. Taking in a stunning view of the valley in Campos Novos, he relishes the presence of a few mud huts, fresh milk, and a few goats and chickens.

YALE: William Howard Taft has embarked on a successful post-presidency. He’s taken on the post of Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History for Yale, and was recently elected a fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s been performing a series of lectures around this time, which will become his book The United States and Peace, but I don’t have dates pegged yet.

WHITE HOUSE: President Woodrow Wilson, 57 years old, is back to work after being laid out for a week with a cold. He receives few callers, hold a press conference, reads some letters, writes some letters. This is a normal routine for a recovering Wilson: when he got sick, he got extremely sick, which his doctors routinely lied to the press about. By all accounts, he still has a cough, he’s still a little hoarse, and his wife will be dead in just under six months. 

  • 20 February 2012
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