I'm not proud of it, but also not afraid to admit it. I don't know much about history....
As any well-educated person, I do know a tad bit more than the basics, but my unflappable ability to forget facts within seconds of hearing them, coupled by an undocumented tinge of dyslexia which almost always makes me transpose numbers if I remember them in the firs place, does not allow for much more. I was a daydreamer, still am in fact, and history class was the most perfect place for this pastime. From bell to bell, I had at least an hour to sit and allow my brain waves to have a field day while up in the front of the classroom stood somebody who actually made a living from transferring historical information from his or her brain into those of the future-decision-makers who shared my airspace, . Some of them actually looked like they were enjoying themselves and when it came time for quizzes and exams, some of them actually got grades higher than mine, that is on those exams that did not consist of essays. I could always write a good essay. If you were a history teacher, you had to hand it to the kid who found a way to make a connection between the fashions of the day and the discovery of one country or another. I never received a failing grade in my entire school career. Except for Geometry. Sorry, I had NO use for that one.
Today is Lincoln's birthday. That is a fact. That historical fact, I have retained, despite the fact that I am not really up on my presidents (I did like Ike) and I am, and always have been, painfully apolitical Oh, there were a few others I can profess some knowledge of so don't shoot me. I knew that George Washington slept in a lot of places and wore a white wig and that he looked incredibly like our current Vice-President. Jimmy Carter couldn't pronounce "nuclear" and said something like "nukea" and his family grew peanuts. I knew that Franklin Roosevelt was married to an incredibly homely woman who ignored his infidelities which probably became the precedent for a few other presidential infidelities. JFK, well, I knew a lot more about him than any other president. Talk about fashion and style! And that Marilyn Monroe....I saw her Happy Birthday Mister President ball gown at Sotheby's before it was auctioned off. Wowzers! And then, of course, the precedents for both infidelity and dresses lent themselves to a president I'll never forget. Then came yet another Texan and 9/11 and then, one day I saw a man on the news and I wished upon a star and the dreams that I was daydreaming about had a chance to become reality. The first who I hope shall not be the last. A glimmer of hope for equality, oh please, oh please America.
You see, I really did know a lot about presidents, especially Mr. Lincoln. I remember more about him than the fact that during a grade school auditorium presentation celebrating his life, the kid with the letter "L" who was to set up the word "Lincoln", started in the wrong place and the whole audience saw "NLOCNIL", much to the horror of our teacher. I remember he freed the slaves who should never have been slaves in the first place and he was shot at the theater and he was tall and eventually we found out that he had a metabolic disorder,and that he lost a child and that his wife was so, so sad and that he was born and raised in Springfield and, oh so much more. I really do know things about Abraham Lincoln. It took me years to find out so many of them; almost sixty to be precise. I have a grand daughter who was born seven years ago today, on his birthday. She has a unique attachment to a person in history who came and went long before her time, and she was a fan as soon as she could talk and walk to a bookshelf. She can and will upon request, give anyone who is willing to listen, all the facts about her birthday-partner; his life, his family and what he ate for breakfast on the day he died. She's very, very smart and very, very wise for her age or for that matter, any age. She loves math and intricate puzzles keep her attention for hours on end. She would make a good president. So, once again, I find myself in a history class, dreaming of the day when I would be proud and happy that one of my granddaughters assumed the role of leadership of a country such as this. By then, I dream and pray that there will not be any more political parties, that all good people will work together, that "slavery" will really be abolished, that morality and decency will be part of the fiber in each and every person and that guns will never be in the hands of anyone. Oh, and I do hope that she will be as un-conscious of fashion trends as she currently is or, will every person in the future America be sporting mis-matched clothing? I hope so.
Happy birthday Abraham and Phoebe.