Do you have random things that you Google once in a while? I do. One of them was my search for the lyrics to a song that I learned at Increase Miller Elementary School, written by one of my teachers, Mr. Kahn. In the past I’d looked online and even contacted the school looking for the lyrics, to no avail.
But recently I found a group on Facebook that was formed just to remember all the lyrics. Yes-the song is that good. It’s a catchy little ditty called “The Presidents Song,” and if you learn it, you, too, “can name all the Presidents/All the White House residents/Of the United States.” Hooray! I was so excited to find it.
I don’t know how to write music, and I wish I did. But if you know me, I’ll sing it to you. My kids love the song. And I’ve used it for years to remember the order of the presidents, even though my memory gets murky around Millard Fillmore.
UPDATE: The Facebook group that I’d found has dissolved, as not-so-active FB groups do. But we’ve located music! Dave offers to email you a copy in comment #14 below. Thanks, Dave!
UPDATED UPDATE: Will R shared this recording on YouTube of Mr. Kahn singing the song! Thanks, Will!
UPDATE TO THE UPDATED UPDATES: Ben shared his old-school photocopy of the song that he found at his mom’s house! Thanks, Ben!
People’s versions differed a bit, so this is not absolutely exact, but it’s my best guess after gleaning from all the different recollections. Mr. Kahn kept updating the song long after I graduated elementary school, and there was a rumor that he got as far as George W. Bush before he died. I didn’t find that very last line. The Clinton line is Mr. Kahn’s, and I added the very last one on Bush & Obama. Here it is:
The Presidents Song by Jeff Kahn
Washington, then John Adams, followed by Jefferson, number three,
Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson (Old Hickory)
Martin Van Buren, a little obscure, and he was number eight
William Henry Harrison died too early. . . or came too late.
So you need not be hesitant–
You can name all the Presidents,
All the White House residents
Of the United States!
In a little while there came John Tyler, James K. Polk was next,
Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, check any history text.
Franklin Pierce, then James Buchanan, Lincoln did supplant
When he was gone, came Andrew Johnson, then U. S. Grant.
Rutherford Hayes, then count the days of James A. Garfield’s run.
Chester Arthur followed right after, then Grover Cleveland won.
Benjamin Harrison stayed 4 years but Cleveland’s support was firm–
Again he ran to be the only man with split presidential terms.
William McKinley’s luck spread thinly, shot by a mad man’s gun.
Theodore Roosevelt ran two terms and William Taft for one.
Woodrow Wilson went to the Front, then Warren G. Harding died,
And after Calvin Coolidge, we had Hoover’s landslide.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, to Eisenhower’s eight-year stay,
When John F. Kennedy died in Dallas, next came LBJ.
Richard M. Nixon, Watergate’s victim, pulled out of Vietnam,
Gerald R. Ford, then James Earl Carter suckered by Iran.
Ronald Reagan, Star Wars fadin’, Hollywood’s greatest ham,
George Bush cracked the whip on Iraq, but couldn’t drive out Saddam.
William Clinton strayed with an intern, nearly got the sack,
Bush next, then Obama, first president who’s black!
. . . Now, that’s what I call a teaching legacy!
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In other news, my struggles to enjoy the many offerings of my CSA continue, and I have to strongly recommend the Grilled Coconut Kale that I found in an old New York Times Magazine. It is seriously tasty.
I took this picture, then sat down and ate this entire plate. When I was grilling I was concerned about burning it, and when I make it again, I won’t be so fretful. The slightly-more-done pieces were absolutely the tastiest.
UPDATE: I made more of this and presented it to my family with great fanfare and enthusiasm. . . . Alas, no one else was particularly thrilled with it. And by not “particularly thrilled” I mean that perhaps there were some muted gags. But I swear, it’s delicious. The kale chips, just baked with some olive oil and season salt, were more popular with the rest of the family.