Friday, July 2, 2004

Weekend Assignment #13

Tell the class which of the Founding Fathers you'd want to hang out and have a beer with and why.

. . .[S]ave the civics essay; tell us who among the Constiutional Convention Cut-Ups you think it'd actually be interesting to know.

  Franklin   Jefferson

It's a toss up between the rascally Ben Franklin [he said he liked older women because they were so grateful] or Thomas Jefferson, the best looking of all the founding fathers, for my money. Okay Nathan Hale wasn't bad, but he was hanged, I think, about two years after reaching puberty.

Franklin could have won "Last Comic Standing", plus he was an extraordinary inventor. Imagine him on Robot Wars. He was also charming and enormously fun to be with -- like a bald, scraggly-haired, shorter, fatter Steve Martin. He liked to live on the edge, too.  That whole kite flying in a thunder storm caper could have put out his lights for good. 

On the other hand, I think the much more handsome Jefferson was our greatest writer and democratic philosopher. Yeah, we know he was a rascal, too. At 6'3", he was also a whole lot taller than the average colonial.   Kind of an eighteenth century Conan O'Brien before Conan wasted his Harvard degree on late night TV.

The problem with both of them is that they'd treat me, a female, with the deference, good manners and, unfortunately, the patronizing obsequiousness reserved for an 18th century woman and frankly, I couldn't stand the demotion.

 Extra Credit: Tell us if you're related to any historcially famous Americans (again, from 1500 through 1950).

Ah, the irony. My stepmother's first husband was a guy named Benjamin Franklin Taylor, the Sixth or the Seventh. He was a direct descendant of [surprise!] Benjamin Franklin himself.  Their marriage lasted three months.  She knew something was wrong when she took out the garbage one evening [that should have been her first clue] and when she tried to get back indoors, he had locked her out of the house.

I'm not related to any of the following people, but heck, I KNOW them, that's close enough.

See if you can follow this one: The wife of a partner in my ex-husband's law firm is the sister of the mother of Michael Skakel [Murder in Greenwich] whose aunt is Ethel Kennedy. The wife of the partner also has a daughter married to one of Ethel's children. Incest?  You tell me.

One of my oldest friends was married to a direct descendant of the civil war officer [Butterfield] who wrote Taps. Her husband, the direct descendant, died unexpectedly young.  And, you know, we didn't play taps at his service. I guess you have to be a vet to do that.  But he WAS family after all.

One of my friends is a Kleberg.  Her grandfather was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1947. You can Google her name and find out who her family is. 

I shared a house in Aspen over the Christmas holidays a few years ago with a direct descendant of BOTH presidents named Harrison.  Her mother was the model for Betty Boop. I don't know which has more historical importance.

One time on a college graduation visit to Martha's Vineyard I was in our host's bathroom using the facilities. As I looked at all the pictures on the wall from my seat, I noticed Teddy Roosevelt was in a number of them. Afterward I asked my boyfriend why there were so many pictures of Teddy Roosevelt on the wall.  Turns out he was our host's great-grandfather. No wonder they had the same last name.

Finally, I used to be friends with one of the many children of the guy who invented the Weber kettle -- the founding father of the barbecue grill as we know it today.  His name wasn't Weber. It was Stephen.  The company is Weber-Stephen. 

That's enough excitement for one entry.







gypsytrader49 said...

I've always considered Ben "my kind of guy". Your comparison of Ben to Steve Martin was hysterical.

quroboros said...

Wow, you really went all out on this assignment.  Great job and I like your modern analogies on these famous folk.  Lots of fame lineage stories.. enough to keep your biography busy for a month or two!  My gene pool is so mixed up I don't know what I am.. 1/4 Indian, 1/4 Russian and the other half Heinz 57 mutts.  But supposedly, one of my mother's ancestors was Captain James, the one who started the doomed Jamestown settlement in Virginia.  I prefer to identify with my native American ancestors rather than the Anglo side.  ¤Holly