43, 44… Who’s counting?

In writing last week’s editorial, I referred to the 44 men who have served as U.S. President.

Even as I typed it, I thought about Grover Cleveland, who was the nation’s 22nd president. Cleveland is the only man to have served two nonconsecutive terms as president, having lost his reelection bid to Benjamin Harrison, but then coming back four years later, in 1892, and winning a second term, thus becoming the 24th president.

Barack Obama is the 44th U.S. President, but he is only the 43rd person to serve in that office.

I consider myself a history buff.... It was my favorite subject in school. I studied to be a high school social studies teacher. I took American History classes in college. I taught American History classes to high schoolers. I knew that Grover Cleveland served non-consecutive terms. And yet, I still got it wrong!

I want to thank Dick Swanson for pointing out my error. I would not have given it a second thought, but Dick was kind enough to drop off a copy of a school dictionary and reference guide for me with a stickie note on the page that talks about Grover Cleveland.

By the way, Dick is a member of the New Market Elko Webster (NEW) Lion’s Club, which has provided these dictionaries free to students in New Prague Area Schools for several years.

Anyway, I was not in the office when Dick stopped by, but he gave the information to Patrick Fisher. Patrick got a chuckle out of it, as did I.

I ran into Dick at a high school basketball game Tuesday and he was gracious about it. He said there must have been a lot of people who pointed out my error.

Sadly, I told him, no. He was the only one. Either no one read the editorial (I’m pretty sure that’s not the case, I usually get comments on them.) or no one noticed the error other than Dick, or if they did, they didn’t take the time to let us know.

Thank you Dick, for helping me out on this one. I’m hoping you keep fact-checking my columns and editorials, and at the same time, I’m hoping you don’t find any.