Monday, January 19, 2009

303 Candles for Ben Franklin

January 17th marked the 303rd birthday of Benjamin Franklin. In his honor, I thought I would throw in a bit of BF trivia.

I usually picture Ben as he appears on the one-hundred dollar bill (not that I see many of those!): a rather stodgy looking, older gentleman. When I read his autobiography, I was surprised to find out that he was quite athletic as a young man. He was an excellent swimmer, and was in demand as a swimming teacher during one of his stints in England.

He is also credited with creating the "swimmies" that we put on the arms of our young swimmers to keep them afloat; his were made out of wood.

Incidentally, we had a private swimming teacher that gave us a great tip as to how to wean a child off of floaties. Take a little air out of them every time you swim. The child will compensate by learning to put more personal effort into staying on top of the water. Eventually the floaties will slip right off and by that time the child will not even miss them.

Kudos to Ben Franklin, a multi-faceted and genuinely interesting personage from our nation's history.

Vintage photo compliments of The Graphics Fairy

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