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I was pretty small when Nixon was President. I thought "Watergate" was a type of alligator.
In 1986, when I was 5 there were summit talks ("Gipfeltreffen" in German) between Reagan and Gorbatchev in Reykjavík, Iceland. I understood that it was an island far off and just pictured the two heads of government climbing up that high mountain (like I knew in the Alps) with a palm tree on it to have a very serious conversation on top of it. I thought it was useful because everyone could run down the other way if they didn't like each other. It took me a while to understand that such talks didn't need to be on islands nor mountains.
I used to believe that the candidate that lost the Presidential election became the Vice President as a sort of consolation prize. I didn't realize candidates picked their vice presidents ahead of time.
When I was younger I used to believe that Margaret Thatcher was a male ballet dancer with a beard. Not unlike "Bullet" Baxter from Grange Hill.
Anytime you had a question (any question at all) you just called the president.
When I was little I worried about the Iron Curtain, I worried that the curtain pole would break as iron was heavy!! I also wanted to know how they secured the curtain pole and where it started and finished!
When I was little I thought each person was elected individually, so if you liked one presidental canidate and someone else's vice president canidate, you could mix and match. When they announced the winners, everybody who won would get together and work together to run the country.
Oh to be so innocent still...
In fifth grade, I thought that part of the reason that Quebec wanted to secede from the rest of Canada because English was printed above French on cereal boxes, and they wanted French to be on top. I thought that they should have a better reason for making such a fuss.
As a child, I thought that President Ford and actor Harrison Ford were the same person. Upon seeing Harrison Ford's movie "Air Force One", I told my mother "You know, he does such a good job being president, he should become the real US president again".
I used to believe the way they counted up votes was by counting the signs people used to put on their yards
I thought an asylum seeker was a crazy person who checked in to an asylum on purpose.
When I was a little girl growing up in Georgia in the 1970's, my Daddy told me that President Jimmy Carter was a close personal friend of his. (He was from our own home state!) Daddy convinced me that we were going to be invited to the White House, and that I was going to play in the backyard with little Amy on her swingset.
I didn't realize the whole checks and balances thing when I was little, and I thought the president could just order something to be done, and it would have to be done. So I always wondered why he didn't order the nation to reelect him, so he could be president forever. I thought that maybe the ONLY thing a president couldn't do was order himself to be reelected, so I thought that he should confer with another country, and come to an agreement that if the other country's president would help his pass a law so he could be president forever, he would help that other president in doing the same thing. At least that's what I was planning on doing if I ever became president!!
When I was about 6, which would have made it about 1951, I said something innocuous to my grandparents and my grandfather said, "Better not say things like that, or McCarthy will get you." He was joking, but for years I thought "McCarthy" was some kind of mythical ogre like the "boogeyman" who would kidnap you if you misbehaved. For years every time I was bad I worried about "McCarthy". Many years later I found out I hadn't been all that far off.
I was born during the Watergate hearings and grew up hearing how responsible Nixon was for the Vietnam Conflict. So, I used to believe that Nixon was the boogey man hiding underneath my bed and that Vietnam was a monster that took children away from their parents.
I live in Illinois, and I was 8 years old and in 3rd grade in 1998, when we had a gubernatorial election. We had a little mock election at school, and the night before, my dad sat me down to talk about the candidates for governor. Although our family is Democratic, my dad advised me not to "vote" for Glenn Poshard just because he was a Democrat, since he was in favor of legalizing assault weapons.
However, I didn't hear the "a" in "assault," so I thought he said "salt weapons." I literally spent the next four-or-so years of my life wondering what on earth a "salt weapon" was—I envisioned a machine gun that spewed out salt shakers, and somehow the salt was caustic enough to kill people.
I used to believe that (Captain) Ahab was a nickname for Abraham Lincoln, and so that the president and the hunter of Moby Dick were one and the same.
Untill I was about 15 I thought that the birthmark on Mikael Gorbachov's head was actually a map of the world.
I used to believe that George Washington was trying to talk to me whenever I got water up my nose during a bath. To this day, I have no idea why.
When I was little I used to think that any political race (like presidential) was an actual relay type race and that they ran around a track passing the baton off to vice presidential candidates