Before he was President: Dwight Eisenhower
David Eisenhower, 1953-1961
Unable to continue playing football due to a knee injury in college
Dwight Eisenhower served as both a coach and a cheerleader for the
school's team. Eisenhower's family could not afford to send him to
college. Even though he never planned on being a career soldier, he
applied to West Point because he was told military colleges were
free. When Eisenhower was a major in the Army he used his poker
winnings to by his wife, Mamie, a silver tea service set. Each time
he won money at poker he would buy another piece until he had
purchased the entire set for her. You can see the set
here. It is now displayed at
the Eisenhower home and farm in Gettysburg, PA.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963
The first paying job John Kennedy had was in 1936 when we spent the
summer working as a paid ranch hand. He worked 6 days a week and was
paid $1.00 per day. The majority of the work he performed was
building ranch offices with mud!
Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969
Johnson and his wife, Claudia "Lady Bird" Alta Taylor, were married
with a $2.50 wedding ring bought at Sears Roebuck.
The television show American Experience: LBJ gave this example of
how hard a Johnson worked on an election:
In the spring of 1937, Johnson was 28 years old, campaigning as
an ardent Roosevelt New Dealer, reaching out to the working men and
poor dirt farmers of the Texas hill country. He ran for office as if
his life depended on it. He spoke in every town in his district,
lost 40 pounds in 42 days, made 200 speeches and collapsed with
appendicitis just two days before the election.
From his hospital bed, with his wife Lady Bird, he learned that he'd
been elected one of the youngest members of Congress. His political
ideals would waver, but for the rest of his life, he would display
the same nervous intensity, the same obsessive drive to succeed and
a talent for attaching himself to power.