Poplar Grove woman receives birthday card from every President s - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Poplar Grove woman receives birthday card from every U.S. president since FDR


A lot has changed since Sam Nowicki of Poplar Grove was born in 1934. FDR was President, a stamp cost around 4 cents and the main form of communication was the radio. One thing that has stayed the same for this 83 year old, a birthday tradition. 

Looking at an old envelop, Nowicki said, "This is the first one I got from Franklin Roosevelt. He announced on the radio that anybody that had a baby on his birthday to send a letter and he would send a letter back." 

Since that letter from F.D.R., Nowicki has since received a card on her birthday from every sitting president. 

Every U.S. president elected she writes them requesting a letter for her birthday. 

Nowicki reading a letter out loud, "Since 1934, I have received a personal congratulatory birthday greeting from every president since President Roosevelt." 

From John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, Nowicki has received notes, cards and even family photos. Her most cherished: a family photo of President Jimmy Carter and his entire family. 

If she doesn't receive a letter, she writes again, "I keep doing it until I get it," said Nowicki.

If that doesn't work she writes to the First Lady.

Reading a letter she wrote to First Lady Nancy Reagan, "The President of the United States has let me down. In fact, he's the only president that has and I'm not giving up. That's why I am appealing to you Mrs. Reagan." 

A few weeks later Nowicki received this letter from President Ronald Reagan, "Nancy and I are happy to send our congratulations for your birthday... Ronald Reagan." 

A persistence that she is unsure will hold up as a new president has taken office. "I don't have anything to get a tweet!" Nowicki exclaimed. "I don't have a dishwasher, a cellphone, or a computer. How can I get a tweet? Unless he sends me a bird." 

Twitter or not, Nowicki doesn't give up. 

"I write, write, write until I get something", Nowicki said. 

In the past 83 years, Nowicki has heard from 13 Presidents on her birthday creating 1 priceless birthday collection. 

"It's a piece of America. I don't think anyone else has this. It's really a piece of America." 

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