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Monday, October 22, 2012 10:08 AM

Several of us from Ohio had the opportunity to take a look at the history of New York City up close and personal as they say. More specifically, we spent five wonderful days touring Manhattan Island and the borough of Brooklyn. It was especially enjoyable for me since I was able to show off some of the hidden gems of an area that I still refer to as home. We even went down my old block that I grew up on in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Even though it had been 25 years since I was there, the three story brick attached home looked just like it did when I lived there; just a wee bit smaller than I remember. 
Ron Schweiger, official historian of Brooklyn, took us through the various ethnic neighborhoods as well as highlighting Nathan’s at Coney Island, MCU Stadium home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, Barclay Arena where Barbara Streisand (also born in Brooklyn) just had her two latest “my last concerts ever,” and where the MBA team Brooklyn Nets now play. Ron’s color commentary on the hows and whys of the continual changes of this county of 2.5 million people was enlightening. I was shocked to learn that 25 percent of that population are Jewish. It certainly wasn’t when I was a child.
In order to give you a first hand look at our tour, check out the youtube video at produced by James Crawfis of Bluffton. You might find some humor in looking at the pictures and listening to the appropriate background music. I am certainly hoping James comes along to our Chicago trip next month just to see what he’ll capture of that. This man is a quite the professional.
Now the only things remotely historical about this trip to Chicago are the dinner/theater we will experience at Tommy Gun’s Garage (some people think that Jimmy Hoffa is buried there) or the total amount of money we will deposit at the Lighthouse Outlet, the Christkindl German Market and the Water Tower Mall. For “us guys” that are going on the trip, we plan on spending our time between ESPN Zone, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse and going to the United Center to watch the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia ‘76ers duke it out. Learn more on my facebook page or by calling me at 419-303-5482. During the trip, scheduled Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, we will be staying at the Marriott Courtyard Magnificent Mile. It includes dinner/theater, all transportation, lodging, fees and tips for just $399 per person. Better hurry as of this writing I only have 25 seats left.
With the election less than a month away, I thought I would bring you something a little more interesting than the campaign ads. The subject of American presidents (past presidents that is) is the most frequent face you will see on a US Postage Stamp. Back in 1847 was when the US started printing postage stamps and you’ll never guess who was on the first two issues - George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was never a president but is by far the one person who had the greatest influence on postal systems and postal history to date. Numerous deceased statesmen have appeared on definitive stamps over a period of many generations.
Postage stamps bearing depictions of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were joined by Thomas Jefferson in 1856, Andrew Jackson in 1862 and Abraham Lincoln in 1866, one year after his death. Prior to the issuance of the Abraham Lincoln stamp, the regulations indicated you had to be dead at least 10 years to be considered as the subject of a postage stamp. After this, regulations were changed to reflect that presidents may be portrayed on postage stamps one year after death.
Hang in there until next time and we’ll take a little more about being “presidential.”


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