Washy Ad Jeffy

Jonathan Coulton writes:

“When I was a wee lad my father taught me the greatest mnemonic device in the history of mnemonic devices. It’s called “Washy Ad Jeffy” and it’s a little jingle/rhyme thingie that helps you remember the order of all the US presidents and how many terms (or partial terms) they served – the number of syllables in the nickname is the number of terms. My father learned it from Mrs. Govan, his 8th grade history teacher at Memorial Junior High School in Ohio. He believes she made it up, but he’s not entirely sure. At the time he learned it, and of course when he taught it to me, it only went up to Eisenhower. I have added to it over the years, so really it’s a collaboration between Mrs. Govan (maybe?) and me.

I’ve always wanted to set this to music, and with the recent intense primary season, it came back into my mind again. I added the little B section in which I tell all the little children that they can be president too someday, a possibility that has already become that much more possible for many kids, regardless of what happens in November. So yeah, this one’s for the Democrats: both of them.

Below is the video of me recording it – there’s no multi-tracking, it’s all live (I’m playing a tambourine and an empty kitty litter jug with my feet).”

Lyrics:

 

Washy Ad Jeffy

Maddy Monroe

Ad Jackson Van Hair

Ty Po Tay Phil Pear

Bu Lincoln John Grant2

Hayes Garther and Cleve

Hair Cleve and McKin

Roosevelt Taft

Wilson Hard Coolidge

Hoov Franklin Roosevelt Truman Ikey

Ken Johnson Nixon Ford Cart Reagan Bush

Clinton Dubya

 

And maybe you someday

And if you do they’ll say

What a fine president you made

 

Washy Ad Jeffy

Maddy Monroe

Ad Jackson Van Hair

Ty Po Tay Phil Pear

Bu Lincoln John Grant2

Hayes Garther and Cleve

Hair Cleve and McKin

Roosevelt Taft

Wilson Hard Coolidge

Hoov Franklin Roosevelt Truman Ikey

Ken Johnson Nixon Ford Cart Reagan Bush

Clinton Dubya…

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