Tag Archives: History

Founding Trio

Quick — name the first three United States presidents.

Did you get it? If you paid attention during history in grade school you should have gotten Washington, Adams, and Jefferson without missing a beat.

Can you list more?

Thanks to a lifelong interest in history — and a thick pamphlet study guide in 8th grade — I feel confident naming most of them in order. Yes, I’ll get a little confused here and there. And don’t ask me the accomplishments of some of them.

During the last several years, I’ve tried to expand my knowledge. I’m glad to live within a good library system to supplement the ones on my own shelf. And it’s rather humbling to find biographies of presidents I remember from the TV news filed under “history”. Yikes! Does that mean I’m old? (Please — don’t answer.)

Want to learn about prominent figures from the past as people, not only doers of heroic deeds? Find a book and settle in with the expectation of learning something.

A trio of uncommon “common” men guided the early United States on the path to growth and expansion. Were they privileged? Yes, they came from families wealthy enough to give the sons the best education available and a place of status within the community. Yet, they learned the value of work and faced the hardships of daily life and travel in their time. They left a rich record for future generations.

The Ninety-two year Difference

How long ago? Ninety-two years! That takes a person back to…1929?

Close to a century scary when you think about it. In my childhood, it seemed as if all adults were born before then. However, I need to remember…my childhood was more than two decades ago.

So think back with me…close your eyes and imagine the streets of a medium-sized city…the county seat perhaps.

Here comes the newest from Mr. Ford…

and it’s not even black!

Watch as it chugs down the street giving a smooth ride to the driver and passengers. Oh– look!

A special seat just for the teens. Hold your girl tight on the curves, Young Sir!

Recent History?

Is the title an oxymoron?

Actually, the definition depends on your age. For young adults — even some in typical middle age — the events and artifacts at this museum are history. For the generation older — well, we remember when they were in use.

Do you remember the 1960’s? Or are they stories from older family members and final chapters of history books?

While many of the items at this museum were designed, built, and in-use before my birth — a large share continued in use into my young adulthood.

I spent a delightful day at this location. I started on land. However, I spent the largest portion of the time on the floating portion of the displays. It took time for me to tour to all the parts of the aircraft carrier which I wanted to see. I tried to imagine myself as a crew member. Did I work on this deck? Sleep in this section? Eat here? Ladders, not stairs. Deck, not floor. How many of the planes on the flight deck did I recognize? What a view from the captain’s chair!

When visiting Charleston, SC, I suggest you allow several hours to enjoy some recent history — or 20th Century history — at Patriot’s Point. A visit to the ships and displays makes a nice contrast to the 17th and 18th Century sites in the historic portions of the city.


My Midwest mindset often groups these states together — sometimes only two, but often three.

Are they Southern? They are certainly different from the “Deep South.” Does the Ohio River make the boundary?

These states certainly share a history. The mountains of one and all of the others were explored by brave men (and women) in the later portions of the Eighteenth Century.

During multiple trips to and through two of these states — to arrive in the third — mugs and magnets found their way into my luggage.

Rich history. Fine music. Sipping whiskey. Beautiful scenery. Presidents were born and lived here. Battles were fought.

Exact time is not clear — but I sense more travel to Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina in my future.

Patriot Quartet

The first time I saw “The Faces”, I was a small child. We were on a family vacation and it was our first sightseeing destination. Was I impressed? I think so. I remember my parents gifting me (and a brother) with T-shirts displaying the sight.

My favorite thing in the Black Hills during that visit? Two things actually — the “pig tail” bridges and picking out the almost transparent mico from the gravel around our cabin.

My return as a young adult included the purchase of the mug below. Rather than go shopping within sight of the actual Mt. Rushmore — I spent my money at a different South Dakota institution — Wall Drug.

Did you realize the lives of these four US Presidents overlap?

Washington and Jefferson were contemporaries. Lincoln was born before Jefferson died, and T. Roosevelt arrived in his family two years before Lincoln was elected.

Planning a road trip? May I suggest…

Overdue Honors

One of the items in my home which is easily overlooked is a small jar of coins. These are not the usual coins a person is either tempted to spend or deposit in the bank. Nor are they foreign — okay, a few Canadians have slipped into the mix.

These are a combination of old and special. Quarters from the bi-cenetennal in 1976. Silver dollars given by an uncle after a trip. A fifty-cent piece. (Can’t remember the last time I saw one in actual circulation.) A least one “wheat” penny.

And…both of the dollars featuring women.

Unlike many countries — the dollar coin has not been widely used in the United States in either the latter portion of the twentieth or in the twentieth-first century. These attempts, 1979 for the Susan B. Anthony on the right, and 2000 for Sacagawea on the left, never became popular. I guess Americans are resistant to change when it comes to money. I’m waiting for another attempt — perhaps if they stop printing one dollar bills they would force the issue. Oh, and in the meantime, honor another woman with some “folding money”. The honor is long overdue.

Hint of History

With the exception of 2020, a trip to downtown St. Louis is often on my agenda.

In recent years I do a combination of private and public transportation. I drive to a lot in a suburb and take the light rail train downtown. For this person who forgets which streets are one-way which way and where the parking garages are located — it saves the nervous system.

Sometimes I have a specific event or destination. Once in a while, I go just to see what’s changed since my last visit. The Arch grounds are a favorite — they were re-landscaped a few years ago and they have greatly improved the museum under the Arch. The top of the Grand Staircase is a wonderful spot to sit and watch the river roll past — with or without a snack. The Old Courthouse is a particular favorite of mine. Even when my main incentive for the visit is another location — I often detour a few blocks for a quick visit.

St. Louis is an old city for the United States — celebrated 250 proud years in 2014. At times we need to look either up – or down – among the sleek, modern buildings to find hints of the past.

Early fortunes were made – and probably lost – as furs from the West transited through St. Louis.

Open Floor Plan

The concept varies in popularity by the decade. Homes built in one era will have defined rooms for cooking, dining, family time, and guests. A house build twenty or thirty years on either side may have an “open” or “flowing” concept with all of the above areas separated by furniture or half-walls to give an open or airy feel rather than the privacy of defined rooms.

Either concept works. Think of great historical houses and shrink them for defined rooms. What mother hasn’t longed to have the children out of sight and hearing for at least a short time?

When you have limited floor space you have fewer options. The home below, consisting of two rooms with a central fireplace, is an example of the open concept.

In one space we have: bedroom (lower left), playroom, dining room, and kitchen. The mantle holds a clock with room for medium-sized storage jars. The kitchen cupboard the the right of the fireplace contains dishes. Many homes of this era (1830’s) also had a wood box inside, but in this case, I believe it was just outside the door.

Curious as to location? This is the birthplace/early childhood home of Mark Twain. I believe the house he died in had more than two rooms.

Perk Up the Brain

Be careful what you read! You might learn something!

Lest my readers begin to think this fiction author only stuffs her head with fiction and omits “serious” reading I present to you a short stack of non-fiction I’ve really enjoyed. (Yes, I used the words non-fiction and enjoy in the same sentence. These were not assigned reading for a class.)

History, history, biography (a special branch of history) and guide to historical places. Yes you see a trend.

While reading certain chapters within these books I learned more than facts. I pondered how people reacted to events then and could compare to how people are reacting to events in the present. It makes a person skeptical of power structures, “the old boys club”, and the influence of money. I’m sure if I re-read any of these in the next few months I’d find something new — for my experiences in the real world are constantly shaping my attitudes and opinions.

Do you have some favorite non-fiction volumes you’d hesitate to part with? A shelf of them? A bookcase worth? More?

Review Tuesday 1

Before striding full force into 2021, I’m taking a glance back as some of the best books I read and reviewed in 2020. First up — a non-fiction.

The Radium Girls

By: Kate Moore


The innocent girls were proud of their work as dial painters. The luminous dials on watches and aircraft instruments saved lives in WWI. In the 1920’s the dials moved into homes on alarm clocks and wristwatches.

Then they began to die–horrible deaths. Dentists and physicians played detective.

Ms. Moore follows two groups of dial painters in this non-fiction volume which reads better than some novels. Discover the legacy and ponder as a cautionary tale.