Author : Thomas Watson

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Thomas Watson grew up in Marine City and has resided in St. Clair for the past 41 years. I am married to Vicki and have two grown married children – Thomas II and his wife Meghan; and Ashley and her husband Anthony Fiscelli. I am a proud grandparent to Bo and Rory Watson; along with Reese and Brooke Fiscelli. I can’t forget my precious dog Abigail – who is a Morkie that I named after First Lady Abigail Adams. I recently retired from Cargill Salt in St. Clair after 34 years of service; which now gives me more time to do the things I love – such as fantasy sports, photography, writing, traveling, classic rock music, and living life – and not necessarily in that order. I am a cardcarrying member of the KISS Army and have a deep interest and passion for the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour. Since I can remember, I have had an interest in U.S. history. In my youth, my interest centered on learning about the Presidents from the milk bottle caps that I had collected. In 8th grade at Marine City Junior High, my interest grew more as my teacher, Mr. Bill Ameel, brought history to life for me. But once I had graduated in 1974 and could travel on my own, there was no stopping me. My first major trip was a visit to Washington D.C. to see the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1976 – Bicentennial Day. I stood in line for nearly six hours to see that historic document on its 200th birthday. From that point on, I would visit historical sites whenever on vacation. On July 4, 1986, I visited NYC and saw the Statue of Liberty celebration that marked her 100th birthday. Then in 1991, I embarked on a 17-day, 5,000 mile trip with my good friend Bob Moldenhauer where we visited the homes and graves of all 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Our goal was to photograph our authentic-sized copies of the Declaration of Independence, which came from Independence Hall, at the graves of all 56 Signers. Not only did we accomplish that goal, but we met many great people along the way and saw some amazing sights as well – including a visit to the top of the Twin Towers. Today, I have a new passion – a quest that began as an idea to bring Presidential history to life for school kids. In 2013, I acquired a Thomas Jefferson bobblehead from Royal Bobbles in Alpharetta, Georgia with the intent to photograph Jefferson at every Presidential site that I could find around the country. The initial idea was for me to put together a slide show that featured Jefferson at each Presidential site and I would conduct a presentation for 4th and 5th grade students around Presidents Day. But a few years and thousands of photos later, the slide show grew to over eight hours long – which was nearly eight hours longer than most kid’s attention span for history lasts. To date, the bobblehead has traveled more than 48,000 miles; has visited all 39 Presidential gravesites; all of the Presidential Libraries; most of their birthplaces and homes; and has met Jimmy Carter. And two years ago, Jefferson was in the Oval Office of the White House – albeit just inside the doorway. During those 48,000 miles, Jefferson has also suffered many injuries – including a broken neck, fractured shins, broken knees and thighs, and a severed right arm. Today, that bobblehead could be a spokesman for Gorilla Glue! After the persistent suggestions of my friend Rick Bieth to start a blog as a way to share my Presidential stories with the world, my Through the Eyes of Jefferson blog has taken off since October 2019. The concept was simple – the bobblehead tells the stories from his viewpoint of what it was like to stand in the footsteps of the Presidents. There are hundreds of photos, humorous stories, and some interesting facts about each Commander-in-Chief. Jefferson also talks about his visits to other historical sites, movie film locations, and anything else that we find interesting during our travels; but it is roughly 85% Presidential. The blog can be found on the web at eyesofjefferson.com and please feel free to leave a comment. My latest and greatest venture is about to unfold here at GBS Media. After meeting Grant Smith about my insurance needs, I discovered that we had a mutual love for Presidential history. Today, we are planning to bring my photos and stories to life in a video series called “Hail to the Chief”. In that series, we will feature every President from George Washington to Joe Biden and the audience will hear the stories about what it was like to visit the Presidential site and what it took to get the bobblehead there. I will do my best to bring each President to life without using many dates or boring trivial facts – my goal is to talk about the sites and the Presidents in a fun and humorous way.