Author & Historian
Chasing Presidents Since 1988
When Richard Nixon ordered a car from Detroit in 1939, he invited his younger brother Edward to join him on the cross-country trip from Whittier to pick it up. They traveled the nation on a train, picked up the Oldsmobile and came right back home, stopping at historical sites along the way.
One such site was the remnant crater of a meteor. Young Edward asked what made the giant hole. Richard instructed the boy to inquire of the man sitting next to it, selling trinkets and souvenirs. The answer and subsequent facts- a meteor from space created a hole in the earth- captivated young Edward Nixon. It was a captivation- a passion if you will- that ignited a flame so deep inside of him that even as he pursued higher education while his brother was Vice President, the nearby lightning bolt of politics couldn’t dim the fire which was in Edward Nixon’s soul for geology and astronomy.
I had a similar experience, sitting at a yellow kitchen table that was probably featured in the kitchen of Nixon and Kruschev in 1959, where Nixon was caught on camera wagging his finger in the Premier’s face, but in 1988 the table was no longer a part of the future, but a comfortable setting where my Great Grandmother peered over a ‘map’ of presidents and told me about the ones she liked and the ones she didn’t. She spoke of them, not as unfamiliar characters in a far off land, but of neighbors and friends, who might any moment walk in the door for one of a hundred visits I witnessed of Grandma and Grandad opening their doors to family, friends and neighbors.
SPARK, meet Flame.
So began a lifelong (as yet as I meet the backside of Forty) adventure of studying, reading, and walking in the footsteps of our presidents.
Educated in the southeast corner of the Firelands in a small town called New London, reared five miles west in a hamlet called Fitchville Township, I roamed the woods, the cornfields and the humpacked streets of his town dreaming of presidents in the midst of Star Wars, Walt Disney, the Muppets and Lucille Ball.
In 1988, there were about to be four living ex-presidents as well as George Bush, celebrating the Bicentennial of our First President, another George with no less spectacular a name as that of Bush. Presidents, if you were paying attention, were everywhere. Four ex presidents and six ex First Ladies were living at the time I walked into my bedroom and put my toys away, replacing them with Life Magazines from Grandma Betty and the book, The Torch is Passed from Grandma Jean. Within weeks, family members from LA to Fort Worth to Railroad Street in Greenwich, Ohio were sending me newspaper clippings, books and magazines all because they read something I might enjoy, too.
Devouring every word, presidents became a cast of characters in the national story which I slowly but surely absorbed. Thirty five years later, I have read a library of volumes of books and even more so, visited over 150 presidential sites, almost sixty pertaining to George Washington alone.
I graduated from Penn State University on May 15, 1999. Returning to the Firelands, I landed a couple jobs while navigating a personal timeline for running for political office. That timeline would be shattered, of course, and the wounds cut deeply. I simply concentrated even more passionately on his presidential research and writing a myriad of self published personal books. But at the same time I was discovering attributes of each president that may have separated the men from their political peers but as occupants of the highest office across decades and centuries, made them much the same. Their stories so different, I couldn’t help but draw consisten parallels.
After almost ten years in the Marketing field, I was elevated to the office of Human Resources Manager on July 1, 2008. While presidential research remained my passion, it could not – did not!- pay the bills. Human Resources was a natural fit for me as I labored to make people feel welcome and enjoyed the process of recruiting and retaining the right people in the right job.
Fourteen years later, I remain committed to Human Resources as a career, occupying a thrilling role in HR for a mid level manufacturing facility in Mansfield, Ohio, just a stone’s throw from my birthplace at Richland Hospital.
Presidents, in a roundabout way, even introduced me to my wife. Would you believe the first time we met she wanted nothing to do with me? But fate intervened in a sad way. When President Ford passed away, I left work at 5PM and drove the five hours to Grand Rapids Michigan to pay my respects. When I arrived, the line was ten hours long (or so the sign said) so I returned home and was at work the next morning at my regular time. Upon hearing this, my future wife Misty thought there had to be something special in me, so she vowed to give me a chance if the opportunity presented itself. Later that year, while wearing a “Kennedy for President” T-shirt, we met again, and this time, we exchanged enough pleasantries that she remains by my side today. She is a delightful companion on my presidential travels, but even more so, doesn’t mind when the itch to get out and about finds me rolling over the country side alone.
In 2016, during a hiatus from HR, Orange Frazer Press published my book, 100 Days in the Life of Rutherford Hayes, a consolidated biography that has been called an intimate, warm, and endearing portrait of the 19th President.
Although I would rather be writing, reading, and traveling, I embrace the good work of Human Resources. But this website, revamped after fifteen years from the original launch, will be a new center of thought, research, and revelation on what my Great Grandmother called my ‘passion for presidents.’ It is here I hope you will pull up a chair and enjoy the reading as I have enjoyed the writing.