I whipped out my notebook and scribbled down those words so I could include them here, of course, but I won’t embarrass anyone by telling you who said it!
We headed out for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library this morning. After we’d paid the local JoAnns and Michaels a visit, that is. Well, with coupons burning a hole in my purse, I couldn’t neglect my favourite places, could I?
The Ronald Reagan library is just up the road from our friends’ home, in the Las Posas hills. A fine bronze of the man himself stands by the entrance which wasn’t quite as surprising as what was just inside…
A Christmas tree! Surely, too early for such things?
We went inside and found the story of the 40th President’s life rather interesting, though there were some significant omissions which needed a little Google research later. As usual, I found the personal items offered an insight to the man himself and I must say, he came across as a very sweet and romantic chap!
How’s this for a cute telegram to Nancy? One of half a dozen or so exhibited there which revealed the strength of their relationship and their love for one another. Actually, though Nancy featured large in this story, his first wife, Jane Wyman got no mention at all.
Another display was of the small index cards he used to reference short quotations for use in speeches later. All written in tiny handwriting, they were meticulously ordered in an album and the display offered a clear view of several.
My favourite was “there’s just too much month left when the money runs out”
He was definitely the master of the pithy quote, as these two mottoes which stood on his desk in the Oval Office show.
Having seen them in the exhibit, we saw them again in the mock up of the Oval Office in the next room.
A little further on, I was fascinated to see the detail in his personal diaries, this page telling the story of Valentines day when he and Nancy watched “an amusing movie called Nine to Five”. All handwritten in his now-familiar, neat and tiny script, this must have taken an age to write.
His movements for the day were recorded on typewritten record sheets; the three above were for just one single day. It seemed almost like a list of choreographic directions and clearly there was little “wriggle room”.
Upstairs, we walked along a balcony around the most talked-about exhibit of all, Air Force One.
The huge plane was placed in front of huge picture windows, overlooking the unspoiled Californian landscape outside Santa Susana mountains, where a red-tailed hawk swooped and soared in the sunshine. We made our way to the entrance, graciously declined the offer to have our photograph taken waving in Presidential style at the doorway and went inside for a look. Very impressive – but smaller than one might imagine. There followed a short look inside Marine One, the Presidential helicopter and the remainder of the exhibit. But we were getting hungry and the story of the Cold War and an exhibition about Spies didn’t really capture our imagination so we hot footed it up to the cafe for a spot of lunch.
After which, the now infamous words were spoken. “OK, let’s hit the grave and go shopping”.
So we did.
What a great day!