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Alpha Study Club

February 24, 2017
Northern-Sun Print
On Valentine’s Day, Deb Wentzien hosted Alpha Study Club at her home. Fifteen members were in attendance. Vice President, Pat Clausen, opened the meeting by reading Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18; “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. The Secretary and Treasurer’s reports were read and approved. Old Business: Phyllis Chizek shared the nice picture frames she purchased as valentine gifts for the librarians. New Business: A letter was read from Mary Trobaugh requesting a leave of absence. With less than half of the meetings remaining, it was suggested that she be excused for the remainder of this year, and then request a leave of absence for next year, if necessary. Jean Livingston of the Program Committee introduced Karen Handorf who reviewed the book First Dads, Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama by Joshua Kendall. Every President has been a father. Of the forty-three men who have served in the nation’s highest office, thirty-eight had biological children and the other five adopted children. Whether nurturing, pushy or preoccupied, each President’s parenting style reveals much about his beliefs as well as his psychological makeup. You may be surprised to learn that James Garfield enjoyed jumping on the bed with his kids—-even though our twentieth President lived during an era when distant, authoritarian parenting was norm. FDR’s children, on the other hand, had to make appointments if they wanted to speak with him. With keen insight into how each President’s relationship with his children reflected his personality, Kendall draws fascinating parallels between presidential family life and national policy. For example, Calvin Coolidge’s deep depression and withdrawal following the sudden death of his teenage son in 1924 may well have played a significant role in causing America’s slide into the Great Depression. In a lively narrative, peppered with compelling anecdotes drawn from personal interviews with many presidential scions as well as extensive archival research, Kendall shows presidential character in action. And he both suggests provocative conclusions about which type of parent might be best suited to leading the American people and demonstrates how the fathering experiences of our Presidents have forever changed the course of American history. Vice President Clausen closed the meeting reading “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Deb served delicious angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries, nuts, candies, coffee and tea. The March 14 meeting will be at the home of Pauline Flamme. Pat Goos will be the reviewer.



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