Saturday, December 25, 2010


Two bobblehead dolls stand on the windowsill above my computer.

There they are—Abe and George.

I bought the bobbleheads a few weeks ago on Amazon. At first I wasn’t sure exactly why. Of course, they are “historical” in a crazy way and I’m certainly a history lover. Most of the books I’ve written the past few years are historical fiction for children. I enjoy the whole creative process, from conducting the research to achieving that final draft. I often end up filled with admiration for the people I write about.  These two guys top the list:

Abraham Lincoln. It’s hard not to admire Lincoln’s courage, intelligence, and political savvy. After I researched President Lincoln, Willie Kettles, and the Telegraph Machine I added kindness and sense of humor to the qualities that I appreciate in this man.
During the Civil War, President Lincoln spent countless hours in the War Department’s telegraph office, virtually following the battles in real time thanks to this new technology. Many of the telegraphers were teenaged hot-shot “techies.” Lincoln was kind to them, often telling jokes to smooth things over in a busy, tension-filled workplace. Feathers (including Lincoln’s) were continually ruffled since the cantankerous Secretary of War, William Stanton, ran the office. We can imagine that those young telegraph operators were grateful for President Abraham Lincoln’s tactics. A person in a position of power who shows kindness to those who aren’t is a class act. Lincoln certainly was that.

George Washington. It’s hard not to admire a man who was so revered by the American people that he could have been king, but chose not to. After I researched John Greenwood’s Journey to Bunker Hill I added Washington’s fierce determination to my list of his admirable attributes. He never gave up the fight for our independence despite facing overwhelming odds.
General George Washington kept the ragtag Continental Army together and was victorious against the greatest military force in the world. He knew we needed a standing army to win at a time when because of our history with the British occupation most Americans hated the idea. Washington was truly the indispensable man. It's hard to imagine that we could have won the Revolutionary War without him.

Are bobbleheads—those wobbly dolls usually reserved for sports figures—disrespectful representations of two of our country’s most important patriarchs? They do make me smile when I look at them. They also remind me that although Lincoln and Washington are icons, they were also human beings. The bobbleheads gracing my windowsill inspire me to strive for excellence. After all, Abe and George did.

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to honor Abe and George. An inspiration to history lovers everywhere!