President Dwight Eisenhower once invited James Michener to dine at the White House. The author declined. "A wonderful teacher who taught me how to write is to be honored," he explained. "You will not miss me at your banquet, Mr. President, but she might at hers." Ike was deeply moved. "Dear Mr. Michener," he replied. "In this lifetime a man lives under 15 or 16 presidents, but a really fine teacher comes into a lifetime far too rarely."