City Paper is not for tourists
Abe Lincoln hasn’t been this hot since his body went cold.
Lincoln turned 200 this month. The new president idolizes him. Heck, his memorial just hosted one of the biggest rock concerts in U.S. history.
A crowd of kids from Hearst Elementary were among those making the pilgrimage today to Lincoln’s summer cottage in Petworth, the newly restored residence on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
“I need a nice, Lincoln-like smile from all of you!” shouts William Rope, a third-grade teacher at Hearst and the main adult chaperone on the field trip.
Rope has lined up his class in front of a statue of Lincoln in the rear of the cottage for a photo op, but he’s having trouble getting his pupils to follow orders.
Two-thirds of the kids smile, as per instructions.
The rest do various unauthorized, third-gradey things, like make goofy faces and poke each other in the arm.
Rope finally has reached the end of his, well, you know. And the teacher decides, as Lincoln would have, that for the good of the whole, some individuals must suffer: The teacher loudly tosses one of the funny facemakers out of the group.
The punishment gets everybody else’s attention, and the frazzled teacher snaps the group-minus-one photo and lets the kids disperse.
After a few second to let Rope defrazzle, I ask him if his students realize how in vogue all things Lincoln are right now.
“No,” he says. “I don’t know that they know that he’s in the news now. But if you ask them what he did during the Civil War, they know that. They’ve been taught that.”