Pen pals with a president

2011-03-10T00:00:00Z 2011-11-03T03:03:14Z Pen pals with a presidentBy Lu Ann Frankllin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 10, 2011 12:00 am  • 

DYER | Not many first-graders receive mail from a former U.S. president.

But, then, not many 7-year-olds write letters to those who have occupied the Oval Office.

Nicholas Malesh became fascinated by American presidents during a trip to the library last summer with his mom, Celeste, and his fellow triplets, Matt and Kate.

"We were in the children's section and Nick found a picture book about the presidents. He sat there and kept looking at the book. He checked it out every two weeks," said Celeste Malesh.

When Nicholas learned to write letters in his first-grade class at Protsman Elementary School, he decided to connect with Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States.

In mid-February, the mail carrier brought a response from Carter via his presidential library in Atlanta, Ga.

"Thanks for your letter. I was 52 years old when I was elected president. Best wishes, Jimmy Carter," the president wrote, answering Nicholas' question about his age at his 1976 election.

And the former president wrote his note in manuscript because Nicholas specifically asked Carter to not write in cursive. He hasn't learned that yet.

Now that he's tested the waters, Nicholas says he's going to write more letters to the living former chief executives.

"I want to write to George Bush and Bill Clinton," he said. Asked if he'd like to receive a letter from the White House and its current occupant, Nicholas thought a moment and said "OK."

Their son's interest in history and U.S. presidents surprises his parents.

"He's such a curious little boy," said Nicholas' father, John Malesh. "He knows all about the presidents and their wives and their children."

The boy also enjoys reading and learning about the 52 signers of the Declaration of Independence, spurred on by a book his uncle created about those men.

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