Steve and the Presidents - Intro

When I was a child, I had a strong interest in the US presidents.  All 37 of them.  I guess that was a long time ago.

I was constantly carrying around the "P" volume of our 1962 set of World Book Encyclopedias.   I was only four years old, and my mother always said that the book was almost as big as I was.  I always had the book opened to the page showing all the presidents - sometimes it would go days without ever being closed.  To this day, over 40 years after my obsession began, that book, when set on it's spine, will still fall open to the page with all the presidents.  When my mother moved out of our family home and the set of Encyclopedias was discarded, I kept the "P" volume for sentimental value.  It shows wear and tear (I still remember crying the day that page got torn), but I will cherish it forever.   
At four years old, I couldn't read yet, but I did know my numbers.  I would point to a picture and ask whoever was near me, "Who is that?"  They would say "Millard Fillmore" and I would note that the number by his photo was "13."  They would say "Benjamin Harrison" and I would note the number 23.  And so on.  It wasn't long before I remembered them all.

I was a hit at all my Mom's parties - grownups knew of my fascination and sometimes would greet me, not by saying "hello" but instead by smiling, pointing to me, and saying a number such as "19" and I would answer back "Rutherford B. Hays."  It was possible they didn't know whether I was right or wrong, but they enjoyed it just the same.  Sometimes, skeptical adults would get a list of presidents and rattle of several numbers until they were satisfied that I knew my stuff.  The legend grew.  I imagine that I was the only five-year-old who people asked whether the current president should resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal.  I still remember saying to people that "he says he's not a crook, but I think he is, and he should resign."

At (almost) eight years old, I was asked by a local civic organization to be the guest speaker at their meeting.  As the news-clipping notes, I gave a "color slide presentation."  Apparently "color" film was still a novelty, and for you young people, "slides" were the PowerPoint of my generation.

The clipping notes that I talked about birthplaces of the presidents, but my presentation actually included slides from a lot of different presidential sites (not just birthplaces) that I had visited.  We took a lot of road trips (among many trips during those eleven years were five cross-country trips from our home in West Virginia to California) and my parents and I would visit birthplaces, homes where presidents lived, presidential libraries, burial sites, memorials, museums, etc.

This hobby has taken me to places such as New Hampshire, Georgia, Oregon, and even Hawaii.  My original goal was to visit at least one site for every president.  I've only two to go (Van Buren and Fillmore - I'm coming to see you this year!), so I've now changed my goal to visit the birthplace and burial site of every president.

The purpose of this blog is to document the visits I have made and to include info about the places that I have not yet seen.  It's both a fun way to post 40 years worth of photos, as well as a way to help me keep track of the places I still want to see.  Plus, if anyone with a similar interest ever finds this blog, they'll be able to use it as a resource since I'll also include links, addresses, etc.

I call this blog Steve and the Presidents. 

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