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Hello Hillsboro: Pick a President to live next door
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Have you ever wondered what our Presidents are really like when the cameras are turned off and the reporters have gone back to the office?

I suspect that most of them would be unrecognizable to us under those conditions.

That thought has been in the back of my mind for many years. Are they all  “phony,” as our current leader calls the many scandals in Washington?

When Harry Truman pulled off the Presidential election upset of all-time in 1948, just about all of the polls labeled him a big-time loser to New York Gov. Thomas Dewey.

However, one poll showed Truman moving into the White House with an astounding majority.

The difference was the way that poll had posed it’s big question. It simply asked voters which candidate they would like living next door?

Those polled overwhelmingly chose Truman, and he went on to win the election to the surprise of everybody except the poll workers with the perfect question.

It speaks volumes about the way people vote for their President, at least it did six decades ago.

In my days of working in the Chicago Tribune’s National News Department, I spent much time on the phone with the White House correspondent, Aldo Beckman. He was one of my all-time favorite journalists, who was covering Jimmy Carter at the time.

Aldo had reported news of the White House since the administration of John F. Kennedy and was a fount of knowledge on Presidential history. To say I admired him is an understatement, and I haven’t forgotten much of what he taught me back then.

During a dinner that Jane and I had with him in Washington one weekend, I asked him which President that he covered would he like living next door. Without any hesitation, he answered, “Jerry Ford. He was basically just a real nice guy.”

Unfortunately, Aldo lost a battle with skin cancer before he ever had the chance to cover George H.W. Bush, our 41st President.

But I think of him often, and remembered that conversation when TV news  recently reported that “41” had shaved his head along with all of the members of his Secret Service security team in solidarity with the 2-year-old son of one of them who is battling leukemia. Bush and his wife, Barbara, lost their daughter, Robin, to leukemia at the age of 4.

Like all former Presidents, the 89-year-old statesman has a crew of U.S. agents who, sadly, are required to provide around-the-clock protection. It says a lot more about our citizenry than it does about him!

Anyway, when I heard about that and saw a photo of Bush with his head totally shaved, surrounded by his lookalike security team, my first thought was that Aldo sure would have liked to have him as a next door neighbor!


This Saturday morning will be a big day for hard-working members of Hillsboro’s First Congregational Church who are busy raising funds to pay for the much needed new roof over their heads.

Everyone who has ordered and pre-paid some homemade pizzas can pick them up after 10 a.m. in the Ehler Fellowship Hall.

In addition, there will be a big arts and crafts fair with many items available for sale that have been created by local, very talented folks.

And, are you ready for this announcement? The extremely popular church ladies’ homemade noodles will also be for sale. And, get this, they come from the kitchen of Master Noodle Maker Karen Fanta. Word has already been spread around town, so, trust me, they won’t last long.

In fact, I’ve been told that they are so popular, some folks eat them right out of the package. Well, actually that might be an overstated bit of gossip!

But it’s all for a good cause because church members are tired of leaks, and those crafts and noodles are well worth your visit on Saturday morning.


Speaking of crafts, now is the time for crafters and vendors to secure a space at Firemen’s Park on Saturday, Aug. 31, during the Labor Day Weekend Celebration.

The Crafts and Vendor Fair will be held on the softball field from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reserved for a $35 fee.
Registration forms are available from Meg Miller, who can be reached at 604-9701. For more information,  phone her or send an e-mail to