A long time ago, in the land of Virginia, there lived a small family by the name of Washington. The father of the family planted a beautiful little cherry tree on their farm. Father explained to the family that they must all be very careful around the tree, because if anyone were to injure it, they would be punished. George, a very small boy, was given a hatchet as a gift which he immediately wanted to test. Seeing the little tree he momentarily forgot his father's warning, and he chopped it down. Later the father discovered the dead tree and questioned young George. "Who chopped down my cherry tree?" he asked. George bravely replied, "I cannot tell a lie," and then admitted his guilt.
George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree and admitted it to his angry father. The story told above is just that- a story. The story was concocted decades after Washington was elected President. Oh well, there goes another great old legend. But we still have many more interesting facts concerning our first president.
Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia into a modest farmer family. His half-brother Lawrence married into the wealthy and influential Fairfax family of Virginia. Washington, then a young man, fell in love with very married Sally Fairfax. However, there was never any indication that she would actually leave her husband. There is also no proof that anything immoral or sexual ever occurred between George or Sally. Yet, there is tangible evidence that Washington carried his feelings for her for the rest of his life. In a letter to her written decades after they first met, he wrote that he had, "never been able to eradicate from my mind those happy moments, the happiest in my life, which I have enjoyed in your company." Martha must have been very understanding.
Martha Washington was a plump, amiable lady who at first despised the notion that her husband was now the President of the United States. She was originally a widow with two children, and because of laws concerning women at the time (who were supposedly too stupid to manage their finances and property. But I guess they were ALLOWED to cook, clean, sew, and everything else.) she was forced to seek a husband to manage her property. Here's where George steps in.
He was a colonel at the time of their 1759 marriage. George's new role as husband and father seemed to suit him very well. Martha's children seemed to get along with their stepfather, and he to them. And, despite the whole Sally Fairfax thing, George and Martha became very close. Theirs was not a romantic marriage- it was more like a partnership. I don't mean to imply that they hated each other or anything like that. They simply loved each other in their own way. I suppose it was more friendly than adoring.
Now, here's something that you may have heard about. Washington grew marijuana on his farm. Yeah, marijuana! But before you imagine Georgie smoking it up and hallucinating like Willie Nelson, let me tell you something. Back in the 18th century marijuana was used for its hemp, a natural fiber. Paper, cloth, and many other things were produced from hemp. It was a major crop until cotton became the king of the cloth. Many other famous historical figures at the time grew hemp, too. Sorry to disappoint you. I don't know about you, but I felt relieved when I found out. I mean, just imagine Washington fighting the British while he was high. It would have turned into Vietnam.
And George did not wear a wig. That's his real hair powdered white because that was the custom back then. Today if you have white hair you color it blond. See, the past isn't all that different than it is today. It's just kind of backwards.
Washington did wear dentures, but the kind he wore you'll never see in your Grandpa's mouth! He owned several types of dentures over the years, but none were ever made out of wood. And thank God for that. Imagine the splinters! He did own some that were made from hippo ivory and real human teeth. . . yuck! And they did not exactly feel comfortable either. They eventually caused Washington's mouth to become misshaped and it hurt him very much. He could not eat hard or chewy foods because of his teeth problem. And, by the time he became President he only had one or two of his own teeth left.
Another fact about George Washington is that he was offered the position of King of the United States of America- and he refused to take it. What can anyone say to stress the awesomeness of that fact? Would you refuse to become a king or queen? I probably would not. Most people wouldn't either. If I had the opportunity to ask just one question to Washington it would be why he didn't put a crown on his right then and there. Do you think President Franklin D. Roosevelt would have refused? I don't think so! The man ignored Washington's tradition of a President not accepting more than two terms. Roosevelt was elected four times, died during his fourth term, and probably would have demanded a fifth if he had lived longer. Well, I would think he would have wanted the title of Emperor instead of King. Emperor Franklin sounds better than King Franklin to me.
In December 1799 Washington passed away. He had hoped to stay alive long enough to celebrate the arrival of the new century. Doesn't life stink sometimes?
Well, on second thought, we shouldn't feel too bad for him. His face his on the quarter, the one dollar bill, numerous stamps, AND he has a state, a capital, and hundreds of cities named after him. I think the ole marijuana growing, hippo denture wearing President would be impressed.