Monday, June 25, 2012

"Lemonade Lucy" Hayes

The press jokingly called her "Lemonade Lucy," because no alcoholic beverages were served in the White House while she was First Lady.  But Lucy Hayes, wife of the 19th President, was widely respected as a kind an intelligent woman.  She was, her husband Rutherford B. Hayes said, "the Golden Rule incarnate."  

A doctor's daughter, Lucy Ware Webb grew up in Ohio.  She graduated from Wesleyan Female Seminary, a college, in 1850.  Two years later, she married "Rud" Hayes, who became a congressman and governor of Ohio.  Lucy had a keen interest in politics and helped her husband in his career.  

She worked to outlaw slavery and alcohol, and raised money for the poor.  Because President and Mrs. Hayes came from Ohio, the rule that no liquor could be served in the White House was called “the Ohio idea.”

President Hayes and his wife had seven sons and one daughter.

Lucy Hayes was a thoroughly modern First Lady.   She was the first one to hold a college degree.  And during her time in the White House, a host of new inventions were introduced there.

These included indoor plumbing, telephones, typewriters, and record players.  But Lucy Hayes also had traditional values.  She held family prayers each morning, as well as frequent songfests around the sitting-room piano.   And she introduced the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn, an event that has been held ever since.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Near the center of the city, on the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, stands the Space Needle.  From the top of this tower, visitors can admire the magnificent setting of Seattle, the largest city in Washington state and the U.S. Northwest.

To the west, across the island-dotted waters of Puget Sound, rise the Olympic Mountains.  They protect the city from extreme heat and cold.  Far to the southeast looms snow-covered Mt. Rainier, rising more than 14,000 feet from sea level.  To the east is the stately Cascade Range.   Scattered everywhere are the forests that give the city its start as a lumbering center in the 1890s.

Named after Seattle, a friendly Indian chief, the city grew slowly until the 1940s.  Then the Boeing Company made it a center of airplane manufacturing.  In the 1980s, many new electronics companies attracted thousands of workers.

Once a small isolated town, Seattle is becoming a major international city.   Because it is a Pacific port, Seattle is a center for trade with Asia.   Its residents include a large percentage of Asian-Americans.

Many of Seattle’s oldest families are descendants of “Mercer girls.”  They were marriageable women brought from the east by Asa Mercer to wed lonely pioneer men.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dwight D. Eisenhower

When World War II began, few people outside the army had ever heard of a 50-year-old career officer named Dwight D. Eisenhower.  But soon everyone knew “Ike,” who became one of the greatest generals of the century and much-loved two-term President.

Born in Texas, Eisenhower graduated from West Point in 1915.  He was a starting halfback on the West Point football team until he hurt his knee.

He rose rapidly through the ranks, and in 1942 was put in command of U.S. troops in Europe.  Then he directed the successful Allied invasions of North Africa and Italy.   And in 1944, he planned the largest invasion in history.

On June 6, more than 150,000 Allied troops under his command landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.  Eisenhower’s ability to win the cooperation of soldiers of many nationalities was a key factor in the Allied victory over Germany.

World War II made Eisenhower a national hero.   Although he resisted invitations to become a political leader at first, he finally agreed to run for President.  “I like Ike,” campaign buttons said.   The nation agreed, electing him in 1952 and again in 1956.  

As President, he helped bring an end to the Korean War, and he took a strong position against Communism….although some people criticized him for remaining aloof from controversial issues. 

Eisenhower’s down-to-earth manner and kindness won him the nation’s affection.