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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Presidents in One Day

Wollman Rink, Central Park
When important events occur, we all think about how those events connect with our own lives.

Today I was telling the students about a time in the early 1980's when my friends and I skated at the same rink as Donald Trump and his then young family. We were all visiting my brother-in-law in New York and decided to go for a skate at the Central Park rink. We didn't realize that the rink had just been updated and that Donald Trump was one of the funders. We arrived fairly early in the day to find that the rink was filled with only a few people including the Trumps and a few others. One friend, Bob, skated alongside Mr. Trump and had a conversation. I watched as I skated. I enjoyed seeing how pretty Mr. Trump's little girl and Trump's first wife looked all dressed up with wonderful winter coats and hats.

Obama's Apartment Building in New York City
What I didn't realize at the time, and I know now is that my brother-in-law, a student at Columbia at the time, actually lived in the same brick walk-up as Barack Obama. It's likely that we may have passed him on the street or in the stairwell that weekend, but I don't know if that happened. We were twenty-somethings at the time and very consumed with our own friendships and adventures.

As I told the students the story, one boy cried out, "Two Presidents in one weekend!" That never occurred to me until today. Later I remarked that you never know who you may be passing on the street or come in contact with. It's likely that Obama and Trump passed each other more than once back then too, and it's possible that one of the young children I teach will one day grow up to be President of the United States. One never knows.