Happy Birthday George Washington: Let’s Celebrate “Old School”

This oral history lesson is from a retired multi-talented colleague older even than me.  He was a member of the so called “greatest generation” and served in World War II. He points out in this poignant little story that in those days kids were in school during the presidential holidays, and the time was used for a history lesson rather than as a paid time off for teachers and a day for the kids to hang out at the mall or play video games.  I know that story about little George and the cherry tree is probably a myth, but I wonder if a greater focus on our heritage had something to do with the development of that exalted generation.  I hope to offer more biased speculation on the subject in a later blog.  Meanwhile, thanks Chuck.  We love you too.

Feb 16 2015

From Charles Cerney, M.D.

Dear friends,

Back in 1932, things in our country weren’t going all that well.  My Dad had lost his job in the bank, we weren’t going hungry but things just were kind of bleak.  One thing we had though was respect for ourselves and our country.  That was before we started lumping things like birthdays. We celebrated birthdays on people’s birthday like George Washington   In our little backwater hamlet in  central Nebraska, school was in session on the 12th, 14th and 22nd

On the 12th we spent some time with Mr. Lincoln, his life and accomplishments: On the 14th we drew hearts and pasted up some little cards. The 22nd that year  was the 200th birthday of George Washington.  A special year and there was an all school affair  celebrating his life.  The second grade was assigned the dance of the minuet and had been practicing.   Even with the depression in full force, mothers had been at their sewing machines.  The dance troupe performed the Minuet to piano accompaniment I seem to recall “In A Country Garden.”  There was about a full day of remembrance as all grades and their parents attended. Then we processed down to the local photographic studio to document the event  In the front row. I think I am the only one of the guys still living. Perhaps two of the girls are still functioning at my last count.

I thought you might be interested in what went on during this period back in days beyond recall.


My Selfie today is sans Hat, but cum  wig, for my contribution to the memory of our first president.



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