Last week, while trying to create some semblance of order in the chaos known as my garage, I came across a box of personal papers once belonging to my late mother.

I sat down on some loose logs spilling forth from the 4 cords of stacked alder wood which had once so neatly graced the southernmost end of a two car garage, before boats and sawhorses, bicycles and chainsaws, and other memorabilia had been jammed in. I began to leaf through what appeared to be chapters of a manuscript for a memoir Mother had begun but had not finished before her final and fatal stroke on Thanksgiving Eve 1998.

There were numerous multi-coloured pages of typewritten anecdotes about her childhood during the Great Depression. A childhood spent on the road with her father who was, during his own childhood, Canada’s celebrated child prodigy virtuoso violinist. Each pastel colour grouping or chapter was held fast with its own rusted paperclip.

One single loose sheet of white paper, now discoloured with age, caught my eye as it fluttered free of the others and came to rest on the cold, damp cement floor.

In capital letters, centred and typed across the top was this heading:


My mother had always been very political, and was probably one of the first volunteers to sign up at her parties local campaign headquarters before any major election. In later years, she was horrified to learn that my husband even though he had shot a campaign film for Bobby Kennedy during his 1968 bid for the presidency, had never registered to vote in all of his 58 years on this planet.

I adjusted my reading glasses and tilted the paper to catch the last rays of light filtering through the open garage door on this overcast September afternoon.

Nine short sentences in chronological order stated just how crucial one vote can be.

   * In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.

   *In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.

   * In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.

   * In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the union.

   * In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

   * In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

   * In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency of the United States.

   * In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi party.

   * In 1941, one vote saved the selective service – just weeks before Pearl Harbor.

The list was attributed to Anne Landers column 1984.

My curiosity aroused, I GOOGLED this title and discovered further statistics, according to the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers):

 * In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected by one vote per precinct

  * In 2000, The difference in the total vote in the state of Florida in the Presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was less than one-half of one percent.   A recount was mandated by the Secretary of State. George W. Bush received the electoral votes from Florida. He won   the election by 1 electoral vote; 270 were needed and he received 271.

With American elections a scant 7 weeks away, and wondering if I should pass this on to my address list, I checked it out on Snopes, only to discover the entire list is a fallacy.

Snopes, the online debunker of urban legends and internet myths, claims that the columnist Anne Landers ran this article in her column in November of 1996 without having checked the validity of the statements. The Snopes article goes on to claim that Anne’s sister Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) ran the same article ten years earlier, and the Snopes article goes on to state the earliest print sighting of this document was in 1979 in a collection of anecdotes and talking points.

I am surprised it has not begun to circulate the internet once again, in a sort of scare tactic to get the voters out to the polls in the forthcoming elections.

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