It’s fitting that I learned of the death of former Governor Patrick J. Lucey on Mother’s Day. My mother encouraged me to say hello to him when I was in grade school.
My older brother John was interested in politics and a member of the “Young Democrats of Wisconsin” at the same time Lucey was campaigning for Governor, so he arranged a reception for the candidate at our house in Oregon. After the crowd left my mother said, “Mr. Lucey, this is my son Patrick.” I was already a bit of a presidential buff and the Governor-to-be quizzed me on a few historical facts.
As a thank you after Lucey’s election victory, my family received an invitation to the inauguration festivities. A snowstorm hit Madison that day in January 1971, but my Mom knew I really wanted to see the ceremony, so she took me out of school in Oregon and we drove to the Capital. In the receiving line, the Governor displayed an incredible memory, shaking my hand and saying, “Oh, yes … the young man that was so well informed on presidents.”
To this day I can still name all the Presidents in order: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison …