I was raised by Abraham Lincoln

October 19th, 2008

Here is a photo of Abraham Lincoln, my mom and me on a family vacation at Disney World.  

As you can see in the above photo, my dad, Abraham Lincoln always longed to be a pro tennis player and also a photojournalist.
Fortunately, as an un-schooler, he was allowed to explore these interests at his own pace and use the knowledge he gained to eventually run for President of the United States of America.  
Which he won!  
I know he won, not only because he is my dad, but also because I went to a public school where I was forced to learn what everyone else was learning and also whatever the teacher picked for me to learn.  
Trust me … I was not doing the picking.   If I had been doing the picking, my education would have consisted of round-the-clock making up of cheerleading routines with frequent breaks for back-to-back episodes of Knots Landing followed by heavy-duty fragrance sampling in Seventeen Magazine.
However my dad, Abe, had a radically different education experience.  He was allowed to choose whatever activity or subject of interest stimulated his curiosity as long as it was either chopping down trees to clear land so that crops could be planted and the family could eat for another year … or death by starvation.  Abraham usually chose chopping because his mind had not been enslaved by the horrid chains of public education and also because his free wheelin’ parents encouraged his passion by handing him an ax.  
Occasionally, after a long day of back-breaking, curiosity-filling, field clearing, Abraham would stretch out a massive hand to open one of the five or six raggedy books that his step-mom Sarah Bush Johnson treasured.   Even though his parents were cutting-edge un-schoolers for their day, Sarah and Thomas Lincoln were not able to provide Abe with hours and hours of unfettered television watching, nor could they afford a computer, which severely inhibited the amount of time Abe had to surf the world wide web and discover new things to be curious about.  It was because of this failing on his parents’ behalf that Abraham Lincoln eventually put his own daughters in the local public schools. 

One of these daughters ended up a harried, isolated, stressed out, overworked homeschooling mother of four.  

The other daughter prefers staring into space.

Here’s a photo of Abraham now … almost 150 years after he was POTUS. 
He seems to be holding up pretty well.  
You still rock, Dad.

But not quite as much as you did in your red Adidas short-set back when you took me to Disney World.


  • Ree Drummond:

    Oh, I love dad posts.I still can’t get over April’s blondness. That is some blond hair.Say hi to Honest Abe for me.

  • Rechelle:

    Ree…. Is that THE Ree Drummond? I am squinting really hard into the computer right now and I can’t really tell…. Hey Ree – We tried really hard to beat OU. Dadgummit! KU’s quarterback is a cool kid. His parents refused to let the poor kid watch TV when he was growing up. I love throwing that into conversations with my boys whenever I can.

  • Rhea:

    Where you guys Scottish as well? Those are some amazing outfits you and April are wearing.And your dad totally rocks the tye-dye. BTW, we DID beat OU. Texas totally KICKS BUTT!! Woohoo!Sorry, Ree. Sorry, Rechelle!!

  • Rechelle:

    No we were not Scottish. My mom just couldn’t stop forcing April and I into ridiculous costumes for photos.


    He’s a Jason Robards look alike!

  • jan:

    Love the sister pix! My sister and I were usually dressd alike in photos, too. Since we have very different body types, (I was the “big-boned” one)the matching outfits rarely flattered both of us! You and your sis look like you were having a great day!

  • Clayvessel:

    Holy Cow. I think the non-violent responses to yesterday’s post has given you new confidence! Reading this wacky yet acidic sarcasm about unschooling made me wonder if you were passing out ammunition for another skirmish in the civil war between public and home schooling. I’ll do the duck and cover and try to only watch.Ree Drummond??? Holy cow again.

  • truth4nothing:

    Hey, where did your Dad get that t- shirt? I live in Lynchburg, VA home to Wheelpower Christian Cycling Ministry.http://www.wheelpower.org/main/Do you know the Bowman’s perhaps?

  • Lori R:

    I have to admit, those shorts are pretty boss. Oh wait, am I dating myself? I mean wicked, yeah that’s it…wicked.

  • Cynthia:

    I remember awesome tennis outfits like those on my dad.He was an International Man of Mystery.I guess he still is, he is on his way to Bermuda to do some mysterious business.I wonder if he packed any cool tennis shorts.ANd I mean S H O R T!

  • April:

    I remember Dad not liking the fact that he was wearing clothing that was advertising a company. He hated clothing with any type of logo….know look at him.And that sweatshirt you are wearing was ordered for you by Mom by a woman that HOMESCHOOLED her children!!! And that woman was one weird chick.

  • Sharon:

    Bwahahahahaha! That photo of you 2 is way too funny! My mom never made us wear matching tams, just the kilts. ;) I had that white blond hair too, now it so dark blonde that, well, it’s light brown. ;P And those legs of yours! Good grief! I am way jealous!Nice to see Ree out of the closet. ;)

  • Donna:

    He’s better looking now than then. He certainly ages well.

  • The Blue Ridge Gal:

    Never knew that my husband and your father were brothers…. I had to burn his shorts like that, and if he goes too long without a visit to the barbershop that Abe Lincoln Einsteinish lookin’ hair-do takes over…..

  • melissa:

    You sure do have some long legs! My dad wouldn’t where shorts. (We lived in northern Maine) Anytime he would put a pair on someone would yell here comes old white legs and he’d put his “slacks” back on. I went to public school.

  • Brian, Mason and Cortni:

    OMG…is that *gulp* camel toe? Go Wildcats!

  • muddywaters:

    Cool post! Last week I decided to not grow my winter beard, but that retro picture of your dad and the chilly weather when I snagged the paper this morning has inspired me.I don’t think I could pull off the Abe Lincoln or the red shorty shorts. Some people just possess a quotient of cool that allows them to wear certain things. I want to be cool enough to wear leather pants or something with a fringe. I don’t think that will ever happen.Hey, your Sis is beating you to the bierock post. She might have posted the greatest teaser in blogging history. It might be the who-shot-JR teaser of blogging.

  • Jenni:

    Oh my goodness! First Abraham Lincoln for a father and now Ree THE Pioneer Woman for a commentor! Holy cow! This is friggin’ blowin’ my mind! I think I’ve forgotten what I was going to say about the rest of this post.Oh yeah, unschooling. I think I would have liked being unschooled. I would probably still have mummified a cat and written a research paper on John Steinbeck. In fact, I almost did both of those again yesterday just for fun. (Okay, not really, but I may do them again someday.) The only problem had I been unschooled would have been that I would know a very little bit about a whole bunch of things and possibly never master any of them–without at least a little guidance. Oh, and I never would have learned any Algebra or Geometry. Then again, why would skipping Algebra and Geometry have been a bad thing for me? I really haven’t used it. I know, I know! It’s just good for you–like a gym membership for your brain. One more thing. I’m picturing you and your dad doing kicks and singing, “We wear short shorts. If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts.” Except that your dad obviously decided to go au naturale on the leg hair which is probably best seeing he’s a dude and a former POTUS.

  • Gladys:

    Who wears short shorts?Oh and I didn’t know you were Scottish.

  • Mia:

    cute :P you had Abe and I had a drunken Daniel Boone :)

  • planetnomad:

    I would have ROCKED unschooling. If only my parents were as hip as ol’ Abe’s. I would have read the Little House books again (history! geography! quick…where’s Plum Creek again? California?) and then the Swallows and Amazons again (geography! pirates!) and then, for variety, baked cookies. And honestly, how would that have made me any different than how I am now? It’s not like I retained anything from Geometry or Life Science.I LOVED this post. And your last one. Does an int’l French school count as public school since we’re in Morocco and there really aren’t a lot of American public schools to choose from?

  • cndymkr / jean:

    I’m sure there was something written in this post but after the picture I stopped reading. Those shorts, those knees. Now if he had been 6’6″, balding, with black hair and really really bow legs he could have been my father. He rocked the shorts.

  • Baba:

    So sweet. I think you turned out ok.

  • April:

    CAMEL TOE!!!!! BWHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I can’t stop laughing.

  • roxymommy:

    Yes, Rechelle, KU put up a fight but the Sooners prevailed. They needed it after last week! Boomer Sooner Baby!

  • reluctantfarmchik:

    oh man, what a blast from the past! I’m SURE I never wore short shorts. Or that my dad ever wore a short set. To Disney. Ever. Very cool post.

  • ladyfi:

    ROFL – this was one funny post. And believe me, you are definitely NOT Scottish as no self-respecting Scottish mum (like mine) would have let you worn such stuff!Your Dad rocks as Abe… shame he’s gone for less hirsute look these days!

  • Anonymous:

    Hey Rechelle great story. It looks like to me that it was a contest on who could wear the shortest short you or (Abe) Dad. Love the picture of you and your sister. Your mom rocks when it comes to cute ideas for pictures.

  • Renovation Therapy:

    that picture of you and April never ceases to make me smile & giggle!Abe's rockin' legs too.

  • Wacky Mommy:

    all i can say is heh heh heh heh.

  • Anonymous:

    Not Scots? Well, either way you are a hoot man.. er, woman.