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Ode to Mr. Boyce

So, a teacher that I had, Mr. Hartson Boyce, passed away. 80-years-old. I always liked him. Good teacher, my brother William Lichtenfeld tells a great story about Mr. Boyce's Western Civ class and the "Big Stick" policy of Theodore Roosevelt.

All the comments I am seeing about Mr. Boyce are positive. "Great guy." "Helped me out." "Connected with me." It is so amazing to see. The man really touched a lot of students in his many years at Marlboro High.

The flattop haircut. The huge arms. The legend was that this man was a retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant. He was the real deal. Engaged the students. Got them thinking.

I will now attempt to honor him with some insight about Mr. Boyce and Marlboro:

I just learned today that Mr. Boyce was actually born and raised in

Marlboro Twp. So was Garret Hobart, the 24th Vice President of the United States. Hobart, was McKinley's running mate and was awarded the honor of being the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 1896 with no political experience because of his excellent fundraising capability. For some bizarre reason, the Republicans put little value in the importance of the vice presidency at the time. It is not as though a president had never been assassinated. Alas, I digress.

Hobart was made a candidate in 1896 and when McKinley won, was duly sworn in as the Vice


Early in the administration's second year, the USS Maine was "sunk" in Havana Bay. In April 1898, he would send the pen he had used to tally the votes on the Senate's declaration of war against Spain, to encourage McKinley to sign the declaration immediately. After the Spanish-American War, Hobart would be instrumental in rallying the states to ratify the Treaty of Paris that would forever change Spain's influence around the world.

Hobart, as fate would have it, suffered from cardiovascular illness and at one point,

passed out on the Senate floor. Forced to recuperate, he left DC to visit a family vacation home in Thomasville, GA. While there he would contract influenza. The combination of heart disease and the flu would ultimately kill Hobart, while in office. He was 55.

The Republicans had an election coming and wanted to be able to capitalize on the victory against Spain. They also wanted to ensure that a certain, progressive politician's career would come to a screeching halt. As I mentioned before, Vice Presidency-- not so important, keep up with me.

Enter Theodore Roosevelt. Yes, that T.R. In an effort to cash-in on having a war hero on the ticket, while simultaneously wrecking a much-too-left-leaning Republican, New York Governor's political aspirations, the GOP partnered McKinley with Teddy. They won.

You know the rest. McKinley visits the Buffalo Pan American Exposition. City of light, all that jazz. Bing, bang, boom... Teddy is the President. And would continue his rough and ready position in politics and the world stage, pronouncing boldly that America should, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

And just like that, have brought us full circle: from Mr. Boyce's classroom in the high school of the town he grew up in to the Vice Presidency of the only many from Marlboro, NJ to ever be on (and win) a presidential election and back to "The Big Stick."

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