11/26/16 - My mom has had a patriotic Christmas tree in the kitchen of her home for many years. It was covered with red, white, and blue decorations that she had collected from her travels. It also included presidential dollars and the yearly ornaments offered through the White House Historical Association which included the background history of why that particular ornament was chosen for that year. Under her tree, she placed four lighted houses representing Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Her patriotic tree was always magnificent! My mom is now at a point in her life where she doesn’t particularly relish the time and effort it takes to not only put up her patriotic tree (plus all of her MANY other Christmas decorations; there is a reason she is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Christmas) but also to take it down after the holidays. So, Mom’s patriotic tree has come to live at our house and who better to help me decorate it but the patriot herself along with my daughter Kourtney who read a few excerpts about each White House ornament as we put it on the tree. Some little known highlights (at least to me) were:
• President James Monroe, the 5th President, was re-elected by all electoral votes except one which was only a symbolic “no” vote so that George Washington would remain the only unanimously elected President. After the tumultuous election of 2016, that was certainly a shocker!
• President John Tyler, the 12th President, had 7 children with his first wife who died while he was in office. He later remarried and had 7 more children with his second wife. And I thought 7 children in a blended family was a lot!
• President Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President (the only President to ever serve two non-consecutive terms), married a 21 year old beauty who was 28 years his junior during his first term in office (the only President to marry in the White Office). During his second term, the couple welcomed their second daughter (the first child of a President to be born in the White House) plus their Christmas tree was the first in the White House to be illuminated by electric lights. (I’m guessing that the lights weren’t LED!)
Just so we are perfectly clear, all the red, white, and blue lights on my tree are LED in hopes of preventing Randy from hyperventilating because too much energy is being consumed every time I turn on the Christmas lights.