Thursday, August 19, 2010

Important Business

A few days ago, Letty and I felt very important stepping off the presidential helicopter and on to the soil where the 37th President was born.
We are in Yorba Linda, California, the site of Richard Nixon's childhood home.

The helicopter seats 16 and was used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon (who flew 180+ trips) and Ford. His most famous flight lifted him from the south lawn of the White House after he resigned from the Presidency on August 9, 1974.

Letty and I arrived early to the Nixon Library, and we were the only ones on the helicopter tour. The turquoise carpet caught my eye. It certainly didn't look very presidential. The seats were gold tweed.
"Gold and turquoise were very popular back in those days," said our guide. Unfortunately she wouldn't let me take a picture. The helicopter is called "Army One". It's actually a Sikorsky YH3A "Sea King".

Nixon's Birthplace

Nixon's 1 and 1/2 story home was built by his father. He sold citrus fruit as a living and owned 8.2 acres. A large pepper tree, planted by his father in 1913, still stands loyally, like an old friend, near the door.

Letty sits near the back door where young Richard and his brothers ran out to play among the citrus trees. All four boys slept in the room on the second floor—two in a bed. The stair case is narrow with no handrails. I saw a photo of how the house actually looked many years ago. There was no rich green grass, and there were no flower lined pathways. Just dusty brown dirt. Nixon once said, "We were poor, but we didn't know it." To see the inside of the house click here
It's furnished with Nixon's parents original furnishings, including the quilt and the blanket on the bed where Nixon was born. (note: a fifth brother was born later at a different location--5 boys in all, however 2 passed away at a young age.) The family moved to the neighboring city of Whittier in 1922. The home passed through a series of owners until 1959 when it was officially designated an historic site.
He is buried next to his wife Pat, in a quiet spot surrounded by colorful flowers.

A beautiful reflection pool stretches across the grounds.
I stand near the house, and look across the reflection pool, toward the museum where we jouneyed through Nixon's triumphs and struggles. Although Nixon's memory is tarnished by the events leading up to his resignation, he made great strides in reaching out to China and the Soviet Union. I came away feeling he wasn't that much different from you or I. We are all placed in specific places for certain reasons. Whether it's the job of "President" or (fill in the blank), each of us have opportunities to affect our world for good.


Willow said...

Thank you for the tour; one of these days I hope to get over to take the tour. I've always felt that it was unfortunate that people only remember ONE incident from Nixon's life. He was a complex man whose wife adored him, and he did much to help the US. Yes, it's a good reminder for us that we shouldn't judge by one event in a person's life.

Diane said...


How wonderful to return to your blog and feel so at home as you share your amazing tour with us! I"VE MISSED YOU!

Since I have been working with SEtting Boundaries and spending a great deal of time on Facebook, I haven't been to blogland often. THAT is going to change! :)

I'll spend some time I can catch up on how you're doin'! Blessings!

Glenda said...

Loved the tour of a place I'd enjoy visiting. You are so right: each of us can affect our world for good!

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing this very interesting tour...the pictures are great as always...and your ending thought is a powerful one!

Dawn said...

Do you remember when I posted about meeting him? About interviewing him. About getting a letter from his mom. I really loved him and his family - thought Julie and I could be "kindred spirits." Still do actually. I did my very first term paper on him. He was brilliant and complex. I cried like a baby the day he resigned. I hate that time in history. If only he had just "fessed up". He has been treated very unfairly, just as President Bush has.

Thanks for posting this - some will not mention his name, as if he is a pariah.

Sharon Lynne said...

What's a pariah?

Oh, I should look it up.

"member of one of the lowest social castes in India...or any person despised or rejectd by others; outcast"

Is it true that some will not mention his name? How sad.

Dawn said...

I didn't know the exact definition - a bit drastic, eh?

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but many think if you liked him, you were a bit nuts.

Great observation about Care Bear - both the drama and the too warm clothes. I asked her why she was dressed like that, and can't remember what she said.

I'll send you the link to the post - unfortunately, the illustrations are missing, because that was one of the ones that lost all the pictures, etc., when I deleted Flickr, not realizing it was going to erase everything from the previous posts. I'll see if I can re-scan those things and add them in, then send it to you.

Dawn said...

I was wrong - everything was there. Here is the link:

Sharon Lynne said...

Thanks for sending the link.

I had great fun reading about your adventure! I'm so glad you took the chance. The young will be bold!

Dawn said...

It's funny - that was my first term paper and now I'm watching Sunday Morning with a story about Hearst Castle - I did my second term paper on William Randolph Hearst.