On This date in History: President Grover Cleveland was an interesting fellow. He is the only person in history to have been elected president and serve two non-consecutive terms. He is also the second heaviest president in history. During one of his presidential campaigns, Cleveland was charged with having fathered a child out of wedlock. While he wasn’t certain if the child was his, he took what was perceived as the honest approach, acknowledged his paternal responsibility and was rewarded by being elected. It makes one wonder what would happen if today’s candidates for office accepted the charges against them and continued their campaigns instead of denying charges or dropping out of the campaign. His real first name was Stephen but discontinued its use in a “search for something more sonorous and distinctive.” As sheriff of Erie County, NY Grover Cleveland had Susan B. Anthony arrested for voting. He was the first Democrat to be elected after the Civil War and served as both the 22nd and 24th president, having been defeated in between by Benjamin Harrison. Curiously though, when he was considering a run to recapture the White House in 1892, he wrote: “Why should I have any desire or purpose to return to the Presidency? I do not want the office. It involves a responsibility beyond human strength to a man who brings conscience to the discharge of his duties.” I suppose he must have answered his own question because he did run and did win. During his second term, Cleveland attempted to root out any immigrants serving in the government.
Throughout his life, Grover Cleveland battled against a number of challenges. He had always been considered a chubby child so it must have been difficult when at age 18 he was treated for typhoid with starvation and bed rest. He did recover from his near-death experience but he must have quickly returned to the dinner table because by the time he was in his 30’s his nieces and nephews called him “Uncle Jumbo.” He apparently loved beer and developed a large “beer belly” to supplement his natural rotundness. When he was a candidate for the position of District Attorney of Erie County, NY he was friends with his opponent. They would meet each day to chat over beer. They limited themselves to 4 glasses but it got pretty hot that summer so they decided to “anticipate” their future supply. After a few days, his friend and opponent Lyman K. Bass said, “Grover, do you know we have anticipated the whole campaign?” Dejectedly, Cleveland agreed. So, the next night they remedied the problem for good when they each brought large tankards into the saloon, said that they were glasses and then presumably resumed the 4 glass limit.
In relation to the issue of his health, President Grover Cleveland pulled off one of the biggest cover-ups in Presidential History. The cigar chomping President was found to have cancer of the jaw in June 1893. So, he created a cover story that he was going on a summer vacation at his summer home. But really, he was on board his friend’s yacht, the Oneida, anchored in the East River in New York. On this date in 1893, the 24th President of the United States had part of his jaw removed and almost no one knew about it. So secret was the surgery, not even his pregnant wife was told. This was the woman whom he had agreed to care for as a child when his friend died. After little Frances came of age, Cleveland married her! I wondered in a previous post if his wife called him “Uncle Grover” but now I wonder if she called her husband “Uncle Jumbo.” Anyway, members of the cabinet and even the Vice-President were not told of the risky surgery. The public did not know that their President had been treated for cancer until 1917…Nine years following his death. Not only could Grover woo the little girl whom he was charged with caring for by his dead friend, he also knew how to keep a secret. It seems to me that the foibles of Grover Cleveland make today’s politicians look tame in comparison.
Weather Bottom Line: It looks like I missed the landfall of Hurricane Alex by 10 miles. Well, truth in advertising, I had surmised 5 days before landfall that it would get to Tampico and my revised notion was just 24 hours before landfall. Anyway, it wasn’t too exciting though it did blossom late into a very impressive hurricane and I bet if it had lasted over water another 24 hours then it probably would have pushed 150 mph given its pressure at landfall of about 947 mb. Anway, my point yesterday was that it was going to hit a very sparsely populated area and thus not be much of an effect. However, it did provide a glimpse of what a tropical cyclone might do to the oil spill. I had thought that it would spread the oil around as we keep on hearing trumpted in the media. But it also did what I thought was possible which is break up the oil…kinda nature’s dispersent. I’m sure there will probably be at least another tropical cyclone of some intensity this season and they aren’t going to stop the oil flow anytime soon, so we’ll see what happens.
Alex got driven westward in the end as a big fat high settled down from the plains. That high also brought us the nice break from the heat and humidity. But, as the high drifts to our east, we will get on the backside and just as quickly as we got the drier cooler air in our area, it will draw back up the heat and humidity from the South. So, enjoy the end of this week because this weekend will be a return to 90’s and dewpoints in the 70’s.