"We Made History" Presidential Living Historians

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President Taft in New Mexico 2012

President Taft in Kentucky

2011 Plain Dealer Article about the troupe

2011 4th Annual Dinner with the Presidents

2010 3rd Annual Dinner with the Presidents

2010 Plain Dealer Article about the troupe

Theodore Roosevelt in Plains, GA at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site--2010

2009 Dinner with the Presidents

2008 Dinner with the Presidents

2007 Stroll with the Presidents

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Yours Truly Hosts Dinner Fit for Presidents (2011)

Taft at the Yours Truly Dinner with the Presidents

Jeff Forman/JForman@News-Herald.com
William Taft shares memories of his presidential years with Rachel Oprzadek on Sunday during Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly in Mayfield Village. Rachel, 10, was with her mother, Meredith Oprzadek. They live in Chester Township. Taft was portrayed by Dale Liikala of Mentor.

2011 T Roosevelt at Yours Truly Dinner with the Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by Bob Hodder of Euclid, introduces himself during Dinner with the Presidents on Sunday at Yours Truly in Mayfield Village. Looking on are Eleanor Roosevelt, Lucretia Garfield and Abraham Lincoln, played by Linda L. Laronge, Debbie Weinkamer and John W. King, respectively.
Jeff Forman/JForman@News-Herald.com  

2011 Lincoln at Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly Jeff Forman/JForman@News-Herald.com

By Tracey Read

Four-month-old J.J. Fernandez gets a picture for the ages as he poses with Abraham Lincoln for his mother, Shawn Moran, Sunday during Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly in Mayfield Village. Lincoln was portrayed by John W. King of Ashtabula. J.J. and his mother live in Garfield Heights.

William Howard Taft was telling embarrassing stories about how he used to get stuck in the White House bathtub because of his girth.

James A. Garfield didn't mind answering questions about being assassinated while in office.

Abraham Lincoln was surprised — and excited — to learn a black man ended up becoming president.

History buffs dining at Yours Truly Restaurant in Mayfield Village on Sunday were treated to Dinner with the Presidents.
Actors playing the roles of former U.S. presidents and first ladies were at the restaurant to celebrate Presidents Day.

Chester Township resident Meredith Oprzadek was at Yours Truly with her 10-year-old daughter, Rachel.

"Thanks to ‘Night at the Museum,' my daughter knows all about you," Oprzadek told Theodore Roosevelt — played by Bob Hodder of Euclid.

Hodder said he's enjoyed playing the character at various events since 2001.

"It's just fun meeting people and seeing the reaction of kids," he said. "I was at Maple Elementary in Painesville the other day, and they all wanted to know the story of these glasses. The neat thing about Teddy Roosevelt is you never knew what you were going to get."

Highland Heights resident Jack Salvaggio, 12, said he was excited to attend the dinner and learn more about presidents.

His favorite president is Teddy Roosevelt.

"He's the coolest. He has a gun," Jack explained.

Abe Lincoln — played by John King of Ashtabula — said he knows just about everything there is to know about the Civil War president.

"I like the questions because I don't think they can stump me," King said.

Yours Truly manager David Schmidt said this was the first time the Mayfield location hosted the dinner, but nearly every table in the dining room was full.

"They've done it in Mentor for several years, and everyone really enjoyed it," said Schmidt, a fan of Lincoln's work.

"I like the way the actors stay in character the whole time they're talking to people," the manager added.

Oprzadek said she learned about the event from a Yours Truly e-mail.

"I thought, ‘How interesting,' " she said. "My parents had taken my daughter to the Garfield Museum the other day. If they have to have school off (Monday), at least this way they can still learn something."

The Neighborhood Files from Mentor Patch.com-Photos & Story by Peter Strozniak

Presidents Join Patrons for Annual Dinner at Yours Truly

Local actors bring history to life for patrons at Yours Truly

 2011  Lincoln at Dinner with the Presidents

President Abraham Lincoln, played by John W. King, shares a few moments with Patrick Sartor, and his mom, Margaret Sartor of Rome, at Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly Restaurant Monday.

William Howard Taft, played by Dale Liikala, explains to Dante Grassi of Concord Township how he got stuck in the White House bathtub at Dinner with the Presidents held Monday at Yours Truly Restaurant.
TRoosevelt Dinner with the Presidents President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt), played by Bob Hodder and Linda Laronge, talk about their lives with the Sebring family of Mentor who enjoy Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly Restaurant Monday.  
President Garfield at Dinner with Presidents President James A. Garfield, played by Ed Haney, and First Lady Mrs. Lucretia Garfield, played by Debbie Weinkamer, share a few moments with patrons at Yours Truly Restaurant, which sponsored Dinner with the Presidents Monday.  
US Grant at dinner with the Presidents President Ulysses S. Grant, played by Donald Miller, shares moments of history with Natalie and Norman Brosbst of Mentor who enjoyed Dinner with the Presidents Monday at Yours Truly Restaurant .


There, in a back corner table of the Mentor restaurant, sat five former presidents.

What’s this? Another back-room political deal?

No, it’s Dinner with the Presidents sponsored by Yours Truly Restaurant Monday to celebrate Presidents Day.

Although these presidents --- Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses A. Grant, James A. Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft --- have been dead for years, they certainly have not forgotten how to work a room. President Garfield was accompanied by his wife, Lucretia Garfield, and Eleanor Roosevelt also was on hand as well, but her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was unable to attend.

 “We’ve held dinner with the presidents for four years,” said Shauna Oreh, a Yours Truly manager. “It’s a good community outreach event, and it’s educational as well. Our customers enjoy it.”

 The presidents and first ladies are played by actors from Northeast Ohio who enjoy bringing American history to life and educating people about some of our nation’s most-well-known presidents. To play their characters as accurately as possible, they closely study the lives of the presidents and first ladies and dress in the stylish clothes of their times.

 “I’m passing through town trying to get more votes for my Bull Moose Party,” joked President Roosevelt, played by Bob Hodder, a Richmond Heights Schools teacher whose favorite method of educating his students is to simulate historical events and characters.

“I think it’s great for the kids to learn about American history,” commented restaurant patron Norman Brobst of Mentor. “I like the fact that they really know a lot about themselves.”

 Elementary school student Stella Sommers of Waite Hill seemed to know a lot of about President Taft.

 “I read how you got stuck in the bathtub at the White House,” Elementary School Student Stella Sommers, told President Taft played by Dale Liikala.

 President Taft may have had an embarrassing moment, but for Stella’s grandmother, it was a good laugh she’ll always cherish.

 For more information about the historical actors, please visit www.wemadehistory.com.


We Made History- a group of living historical re-enactors who are more than impersonators of historical figures-they are serious portrayers of U.S. Presidents and First Ladies

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Last modified: 06/07/2014