By Angie Georgeff
Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln! If you are as old as I am, you probably remember the bulletin board calendars that our teachers used to put up each month. February sported black silhouettes of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12 and George Washington on Feb. 22 with a lacy red heart in between on Valentine’s Day. If my teachers were trying to engrave those dates on my memory, it worked. I always think of those two presidents on the anniversaries of their birth.
Today’s children may have to look up those dates if they need them for a report, since the celebration of Washington’s Birthday is now unofficially called Presidents’ Day and has been moved to the third Monday in February. William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan were born in February, as well, making it an average month for presidential birthdays. October takes the prize with six: John Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter.
Only William Howard Taft was born in September, but surprisingly two presidents share the same birthday. Both James K. Polk and Warren G. Harding were born on Nov. 2, 70 years apart. My youngest brother was born on Nov. 2, so apparently he missed his calling. The award for best birthday, however, goes to Calvin Coolidge, who was born on the Fourth of July in 1872.
The “Glorious Fourth” is also the date on which three of our American presidents have died. When John Adams lay dying in Quincy, Massachusetts on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he mused “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” News traveled slowly in 1826, so Adams did not know that he had actually survived Jefferson, who had died at Monticello less than five hours earlier. The third president was James Monroe, another of the Founding Fathers, who died five years later on July 4, 1831.
The library will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17, in observance of Presidents’ Day. No items will be due on that date. Our two drop boxes are available all day every day for you to return borrowed books and audiobooks. They are located at the library in Erwin and at Town Hall in Unicoi. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday weekend.
If I ever wondered whether anyone reads this column, those doubts were put to bed during the past two weeks. Our request for magazines, and especially magazines for gentlemen, has generated a gratifying response. We want to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to bring us periodicals. They’re being put to good use!