Monday, August 19, 2013

Who Stole August?

August was always my very favorite summer month. The last few years I have noticed that it's basically gone. How did this happen? Why isn't everyone complaining?

 I finally realized I wasn't alone when I read "Whatever Happened to August?" in the August 16-17 weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal.

When I was a kid, my parents always rented a beach house in Balboa, California, for the entire month of August. I loved it there. The "Peck House" (named for the owners) was really a dump, set on a large lot that stretched between two streets, and it was full of charm. The yard boasted a huge, brick, wood burning BBQ, with both a griddle and a grate. We had so many great meals at the picnic table in the yard.

The outdoor shower had a knot-hole that was really a peep hole and I always made sure that a wash-cloth was in place when I took a shower. Many a hilarious game of tug of war was played on either side of that knot hole every summer. Shampoo in the eye was caused by keeping one eye out for the slowly disappearing wash cloth, a happening that was always good for shrieks and giggles.

Days were long, lazy and perfect. High tides were a happening that often lapped the sidewalks and erased all the footprints on the sand. The look of the pristine beach was one of pure delight.

The Peck house was half way between the bay and the ocean, about a block in either direction. Little kids and all the moms spent the day on the bay. When I got older I spent the entire day body surfing and shooting the curl at the ocean. The only rules were that I had to stay in front of the life guard stand and couldn't go in the water if the flag was red, because that meant dangerous surfing conditions.

My brother Rob and I slept in bunk beds, barely bigger than the screened in porch on the side of the house. We hung our clothes on wooden pegs, and didn't care a twit that we didn't have a closet. The place next door was so close, we could hear every word that was being said over there. One vivid memory is of a mom repeatedly saying, "Markie, drink your bosco." Finally, I took my head out from under my pillow and yelled, "For God sake, Markie, please drink your bosco." Our parents laughed about it for years.

During my Junior High and High School summers, I was required to work at my Dad's company in the heart of un-air-conditioned, industrial Los Angeles. I was the switchboard operator vacation relief person. It was hot and miserable, but I would count the days until August 1st, and dream of being a beach rat again.

Ocean temperatures are the warmest in August. Corn and peaches are the sweetest. Tomatoes are the most delicious. The grunion are running. Life is good. Beaches are the best.

I never had to go back to school until AFTER Labor Day. I don't know what I would have done with out my August on the beach. Why did this change?

Our grandsons had to go back to school in Tucson on August 5 this year. As I write this it is still a 108 degrees in Tucson. Schools starting so early have a domino effect. Restaurants lose their summer workers, summer camps lose their counselors and have to close early, life guard stands at pools and beaches are empty. Why has this happened? Why is it OK to steal summer from kids? There ought to be a law. Whichever Presidential candidate vows to take August back gets my vote.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

NAM POW's Reunion

They said when they heard the B-52's fly over head, they knew they were going home.  They had spent years in squalid captivity, but they never gave up and never gave in.  Navy Commander Everett Alvarez, the first pilot to be shot down, was the longest held POW.  He spent eight and a half gruesome years at the "Hanoi Hilton," where he was tortured and beaten.  Today Everett is a member of the Board of Director's at the Richard Nixon Foundation.  My husband, Ron Walker is Chairman of the Foundation, and the two long time friends collaborated on the 40th Anniversary Reunion held on the 23 and 24th of May, 2013.

As a special assistant to President Nixon, in charge of presidential travel, Ron was at the bottom of the ramp when the Vietnam POW's came home.  That's when Ron and Everett met.

President Nixon wanted to celebrate their homecoming and he hosted a gala dinner for 1300 guests on the White House lawn.  It is still the largest White House dinner ever held.  Irving Berlin led the singing of his song, "God Bless America,"  Bob Hope was MC and Sammy Davis, Jr. performed.  Everett got to sit next to John Wayne.

Forty years later the reunion took place at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace.  The POW's and their families arrived in eight buses and were moved to see the crowds that lined the streets in Yorba Linda, waving flags and saluting.  The California Highway Patrol provided an escort and so did fire trucks, police cars, and 100 Patriot Guard riders on motorcycles.  The POW's toured a new exhibit that tells their story and then attended a solemn ceremony featuring military salutes, four fly-overs by MIG jets and War Bird CJ 6s.  The grand finale was Robbie Britt singing the National Anthem, TAPS, and a 21 gun salute.
Patriot Guard Riders Salute the Arriving POW's

 A happy moment came when Tony Orlando sang, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" and the crowd sang every single word along with him.  The young musicians in the 1st Marine Division Band from Camp Pendleton watched in amazement as the entire "older" audience sang along to a song they'd probably never heard before, but began clapping in time and in appreciation.  The song had become a symbol of the joyous hostage homecoming, and the Gold Record it earned will become part of the Nixon Museum exhibit.
40th Anniversary Dinner at the Nixon Library

Tricia Nixon Cox, the president's older daughter, talked about the dinner at the White House, and how much it meant to her father.   Ross Perot spoke too.  The POW's love him.  He worked for years and spent a lot of money in repeated attempts to set them free.

While I can't begin to imagine the bonding those men must feel for each other, it was emotional and heart warming to be in their midst.  At the original dinner, a choir of the POW's sang a song they had written in prison, on toilet paper, to the tune of the Navy Hymn. They had to keep it hidden from the Viet Cong. Forty years later, we watched a black and white movie of their White House performance, and then the same men from that chorus got up and sang it again, in person.  What a moment!

They have had other reunions over the years, but many expressed the opinion that this one was probably their last.  Some are wheel chair bound and many walk with difficulty.  They were proud to say they always include a place at the table for President Nixon.  Retired U.S. Marine Capt. Orson Swindle, who spent six years as a prisoner, said, "He was a hero to us.  He will always be revered by us as a group because he got us home."

I am proud to say that here in Oro Valley, Arizona, we have a wonderful Veteran's Initiative, chaired by Sandy Briney, wife of our Pastor, Jim.  Along with their volunteers, they work hard to provide assistance to veterans, and their web site is full of good information and updated frequently.  It would be nice if every town in America had something similar to offer our very deserving veterans.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remembering Van Cliburn

Ron and I have just returned from Fort Worth, Texas where he was honored to be an Honorary Pall Bearer at the funeral of a true American Icon, Van Cliburn. We went with the knowledge that we were representing the Nixon Family and the Richard Nixon Presidential FoundationJulie Nixon Eisenhower had a nice, long telephone conversation with Van just a few days before he died.  How Ron came to be so honored is an amazing story:

After the difficult task of advancing President Richard Nixon's historic trip to the People's Republic of China in early 1972, Ron was soon dispatched to prepare for the President's trip to the Soviet Union.  After the long flight, and a fitful night's sleep, Ron was surprised to find a marine guard right outside of his room.  "What's going on,?" he asked the marine.  "Sir, Ambassador Jake Beane is on his way to see you."  Ron told him that he hadn't been in-country long enough to get in any trouble and the marine couldn't help the small smile that softened his face.  He told Ron to look toward the elevators at the end of the hall.  A group of armed KGB agents were guarding the elevator.  Ron gulped when he saw them.

When the Ambassador arrived, he informed Ron that he and his entire party were under house arrest.  Overnight, the President had mined Haiphong Harbor in Viet Nam.  The Russians were not pleased.  Ron was allowed to accompany the Ambassador to the Embassy, where the only secure phone was located.  When he talked to Bob Haldeman, the President's Chief of Staff, he was assured that they didn't think the Russians would cancel the trip.  "Easy for him to say," Ron thought, recalling all the stern looking KBG-types, with guns in their hands, up and down his hotel hallway, but he certainly hoped the trip would still happen.

In the meantime, a small dining room was set up on the top floor of the Rossyia hotel for the Americans.  At the time, their hotel was the largest in the world, with over 1,000 rooms.  Another American, staying in the hotel, was allowed to join the President's advance team for meals.  He was already famous.  In 1958 he had won the very first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition for his rendition of the composer's Concerto No. 1.  The contest had originated to highlight the Russia superiority in culture during this time when the Cold War was raging.  The 23 year old Texan was so amazing in his talent and showmanship, that the audience could not stop praising him. He was mobbed by admirers and women reportedly fainted. The judges were stunned.  They were worried about giving the prize to a non-Soviet musician, but they called Premier Nikita Khrushchev before announcing their decision.  "Is he the best?" Khrushchev wanted to know.  "Yes," he was told.  "Then give him the prize."  Van Cliburn returned home to a New York ticker tape parade, the only classical musician to ever receive such an honor.

In 1972, while Ron and Van were enjoying a meal together, Van told him he was very frustrated with the inefficiency of the Russian telephone system.  He could not reach his mother.  He did not like to miss a single day of talking to his mother.  Ron talked to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) staff person on the trip with him, and within a very short time, Van had a White House Signal phone in his room.  Now he could talk to his mother whenever he wanted.

Van's devotion to his parents, especially his mother, was well known.  Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn had been his first piano teacher and the person he most wanted to please when he played. My cousin, Elizabeth Lucille (BettyLu) Fitch Ackerman was at the Julliard School of Music with Van.  She recalls that he was always wearing a suit, always extremely polite and loved all things Tchaikovsky.

Ron asked Van if he would be available to perform at the reciprocal banquet they were having at Spaso House, the American ambassador's residence.  Van quickly accepted.  As it turned out, the President's talks with Breshnev, that resulted in the Salt agreements, went on forever.  Van Cliburn didn't seem to mind the prolonged performance that resulted and his enchanted listeners didn't either.
Bill Henkel from the White House Advance Office remembers that they made sure that all the empty seats waiting for the President and Premier's parties were filled with staff from the embassy.  Julie Rowe Cooke, also from the Advance Office recalls that she asked Mr. Cliburn what he planned to play?  His answer was that he always started with the "Banner."  And of course, he meant the Star Spangled Banner.
                             Van Cliburn plays the "Star Spangled Banner" at Spaso House.

Neither Van or Ron ever forgot how their friendship had bonded in a Russian hotel.  They stayed in touch with each other over the years.  Ron found out that Van had been diagnosed with bone cancer when he extended an invitation for him to attend the President's Gala Centennial celebration on January 9, 2013.  He was devastated and checked on him often with his long-time friend, Tommy Smith.  When Van died on February 27th, Tommy called and asked Ron to be an Honorary Pall Bearer.

When we got to the hotel, we were so surprised to find ourselves in the two-story, Van Cliburn Suite.  It was complete with  grand piano and pictures on the walls from Van's concerts and programs.  We don't know why we were chosen to have that room, as there were other, very worthy and long time friends of Van's that we would soon meet.  Again, we were honored.  Van had performed for every American President since Harry Truman and we expected to see other Honorary Pall Bearers from the world of politics, but Ron was the only one.

The funeral, in Van's long time church, Broadway Baptist, was packed.  A choir of over 300 voices, from several churches, and the Fort Worth symphony combined to produce the most beautiful music imaginable.  The sound took your breath away and brought tears to your eyes.  Van would have expected nothing less that the perfection we witnessed.

We especially would like to thank Tommy Smith for all he did to make us so welcome.  Also, Mary Lou Falcone, Van's long-time publicist and her husband Nicky Zann for their friendship and kindness to us.  Also, to Peter Rosen, President of Peter Rosen Productions.  It was a pleasure to meet them and share such an outstanding celebration of a remarkable life.

The President and Mrs. Nixon thank Van Cliburn after his performance at the Reciprocal Banquet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Prayer Beads

I'm a fan of the UPPER ROOM and try to read the selection for each day.  The last issue had a centerfold story about "Listening and Praying with Beads."  It captured my imagination and I wanted to learn more. 

I was facing another surgery for removal of cancer on my tongue and the idea of a helpful"crutch" in the form of beads was intriguing.  The idea also reminded me of my dear father-in-law, Hugh Walker, who died way too early in 1984.  He spent years working in the Middle East (which I'm sure contributed to his early demise) and "worry beads" were usually in his pocket and often in his hand.  Oh how I wish I'd asked him more about how and why he used them so often.  The dumb, busy, younger me, just never did. Ron says he doesn't remember talking to his father about his beads. Ron's sister, Jeanne said she never asked him either.

I learned that "worry beads" probably originated in India, but were commonly used in the Middle East. In Arab cultures, just about everyone carries the beads.  During moments of worry, or contemplation, or prayer, people work the individual beads with their thumb and forefinger, strung on a string with slack, one at a time, in order to calm themselves, or in some cases, just to pass the time.  They always have either 33 beads, or 99.  For Christians, the 33 represents the 33 years of Jesus time on earth.  The 99 beads represent the 33 years multiplied by the three-in-one: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.  The Catholic Rosary was introduced during the 13th century and it has 50 beads to mark repetitions of the Hail Mary and five larger beads to count Our Father's.  And no doubt, there are many more variations on the theme.

Our daughter Marja, a world class talent in all things creative, and I set out to put together a set of prayer beads.  Our online research revealed that we needed something to represent God and another something to represent the user.  In this case that was me.  Then you can add as many beads as you want to remind you of specific prayers to include:  I went through my jewelry and found some ancient treasures. 

The talisman I chose to represent ME has a unique story.  During World War II, living in Southern California (and I don't know where else in the U.S.) we had to wear ID tags.  At night, we often heard planes overhead and sirens blaring to signal a mandatory black out.  The idea was to turn off all the lights so the Japanese bombers wouldn't know they were over populated areas.  My Dad was a volunteer air raid warden, and he would have to go out in the streets during the air raids and make sure no one had their lights on.  My maternal grandfather painted the top of his outside light fixtures black, but his lights still shone down and I found it scary and appalling that he thought it was alright to cheat like that.  

I wore my silver ID tag on a chain around my neck.  It says, "Anne L. Collins, AT 2-7387"  And on the back "184 So Kauffman Ave Temple City"  It's dark, pretty beat up and the edges are wavy.  And with good reason.  One day my younger brother, Rob, and I were rough housing on the floor. (A big no-no as far as our mother was concerned) and I had him pinned good as I sat on his chest.  He yanked at the chain around my neck and it broke.  In a flash, he swallowed my ID tag. GULP! I can still remember the look of total shock and surprise on his face when he realized what had happened.  Then I went running to tell our mother.

Our doctor wanted to make sure it didn't get stuck somewhere in Rob's person, and mother was told to "watch for it."  Obviously, she found it, and it has lived in the corner of my jewelry box all these years.  Now it is on my prayer beads, representing me.

To represent God, I chose a small, silver crucifix that my mother, the three little girls, and I found in an elevator in Williamsburg, Virginia in the early 1970's.  We reported it to the desk at our hotel, but no one ever asked about it, and I have also kept it all these years.  Now, it has been put back into use for that which it was originally intended.   Nice, huh?

The rest of the beads represent the world, your blessings, your concerns, those you want to pray for,  a time for listening, and anything else you may want to include.  I particularly like the idea that there are no hard and fast rules, the possibilities are limitless and they provide structure to your prayer time.

My Prayer Beads
Update: I am blessed to report that they got all the cancer in my mouth and I do not have to face any additional treatments, beyond having my mouth checked on a regular basis.  They had planned to take cuts and check them while keeping me under sedation, in case they had to go back for more.  My mantra became "One and Done" and behold, it came to pass.  The good Doctor, the prayer beads, all my prayer pals and some divine intervention are the reasons. 
What a gift!  Thank you to all who helped.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Presidential Inaugurations

The 50th Presidential Inaugural in 1985

Presidential Inaugurations are exciting events in America's history.  There is an electricity in the air and a deep appreciation of the historic significance taking place.  Ron and I have been privileged to attend several.  As we witness President Obama's second, the 57th, it brings back memories of Inaugural's past.


President's Nixon's first Inauguration in 1969, was Ron and my first and to say we were in awe is to put it mildly.  We were living in Dallas and that first Inauguration was my very first trip to Washington DC.  I flew in to town on January 17th.  While Ron worked, I walked.  The bandstands were in place in front of the White House.  What a sight.  I walked all the way around the White House, past the Washington Monument.  All along the reflecting pool there were hundreds of vintage World War II quonset huts that were still being used as "temporary" offices.  (Mrs. Nixon would soon convince the President to have the eye-sores removed and return the mall into the beautiful place it is today.)

It was so cold I had to duck into store fronts and hotels to warm up, before I could brave the outdoors again.  I found the Lincoln Memorial and stood spell-bound at the sight of its magnificence.  If you've been there, you know there are not many warming huts nearby, so the cold finally drove me reluctantly away to the warmth of a taxi cab.  I was grateful for the cozy boots my friend Marty Vehslage had loaned me. 

Before we left army life on Okinawa, anticipating formal military occasions, I had splurged on a long, silk brocade dress made by a local sew-lady.  It was the perfect Inaugural ball gown, complete with matching shoes.  My mother, always a stickler for the proper lady-like way to do things, had read that long, white kid gloves were mandatory when one was attending an Inaugural Ball.  Dutifully, I went to Nieman-Marcus and spent a fortune on a pair of long, white kid gloves.  They had countless pearl buttons snaking up the inner-arm, and in my mind, they were a total pain to put on, take off, eat-in, drink-in, or anything else ladies have to do during the course of an evening.

We stayed at the Statler Hilton.  Our room was one foot wider on three sides than the queen size bed.  To open a bottom dresser drawer, one had to sit on their feet on the bed.  Ed Morgan was next door.  Ron and Ed dressed in White Tie in the hall way, while I somehow managed to dress in a corner of the room.  We didn't care, it was so exciting just to have a room and be a part of it all.

I never knew I was claustrophobic until my first Inaugural Ball experience.  A secret service agent arranged a spot in front of the stage for me, but people kept pushing me and shoving me.  A man with obviously a few flutes of champagne under his belt kept trying to kiss me.  A woman kept asking me why I thought I was so important?  I got the agents attention, finally, and asked him if there was somewhere else I could go.  He took me to a built-in stone bench around the corner from the stage.  Suddenly, another lady was plopped on the bench next to me.  That's the first time I met Susie Chapin, who became my cherished friend from that day forward.  We both had been frightened by the crowds and clung together on our little bench of refuge.

Ron and Susie's husband, Dwight, would leave soon after the President and Mrs. Nixon arrived at a Ball, to get to the next Ball location before they arrived.  Luckily, Susie and I were able to join them in the lead car in the motorcades.  After the last Ball, a secret service agent inside an elevator caught my eye and held out his hand.  I grabbed his hand and Susie's at the same time and he pulled us both into the elevator.  President and Mrs. Nixon were already inside.  Congratulations were relayed and everyone complimented everyone else on how beautiful all the ladies looked.  It was quite a moment, to say the least.


I worked as a volunteer on President Nixon's second Inaugural.  The offices were somewhere in an obscure part of Washington I'd never been to before.  Along with pals, Nancy Foust and JoAnne Jackson, we always got lost trying to get home after a day of volunteering and always wound up in dense traffic in the Pentagon parking lot. We laughed about this for years, but never could figure out how it happened. During the festivities, again Ron and Dwight worked and I was once again given a special place in the VIP section of history in the making.


This time it was Ronald Reagan who was being sworn in.  We sat with Corky and John Kinnear on the lawn of the Capitol as the sun came out and the announcement was made that our hostages in Iran had been released.  We walked toward the White House with a song in our heart taking great joy in the prospects for the future with our new President.  VIP's were being loaded on buses, headed for the reviewing stands.  Susan Davis spotted us and we jumped on board one of the buses.  Instead of stopping at the bleachers, the bus drove right into the White House parking area.  Our dear friend JoAnne Jackson was getting out of her car and we all hollered and hugged each other.  She took us into the West Wing of the White House where workers were up on ladders, changing the pictures on the walls from the Carters to the Reagans.  They saw Ron, and grinning from ear to ear, they got down off their ladders to tell him they were so glad to have him back.  We had lunch in the White House Mess with our pal, Ron Jackson.


It was Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush's second  and the 50th Presidential Inaugural.  After running their 1984 Republican Convention in Dallas, Ron was asked to be a Co-chair of the Inaugural, along with Michael Deaver.  As it turned out, Mike got sick and wound up in the hospital, so Ron wore both of their hats.  We had military aides that became wonderful friends.  The week-end before the swearing in was a gorgeous, sunny day.  Ron and I walked the entire length of the parade route from Capitol to White House, checking things out.  Then an artic blast moved in and by the next weekend, Ron was being advised to cancel the parade. The bitter cold would be unsafe for horses and people in polyester band uniforms. 

The extreme weather forced the swearing in to take place in the Capitol Rotunda and the parade was moved to the Cap Center, but otherwise we did all the traditional events we just watched the Obama's and Bidens do.  The morning church service at St. John's was so memorable because a shaft of sunlight highlighted only one person in the whole church, President Reagan.  It was a sight I'll never get over.  It seemed to me that God was shining on him because of the place he would hold in our history. The "bipartisan" luncheon between the swearing in and the parade was exciting, and probably delicious, but way too long. 

Mike Deaver was still in the hospital and Ron and I were asked if we wanted to make the whirlwind tour of the Inaugural Balls with the Reagans, instead of the Bush's as planned.  We said No, we'd stick with the Vice President and Mrs. Bush.  We made the round of ten Inaugural Balls.  The off-stage announcer would introduce Ron and he would introduce the Vice President.  Then both couples would dance for a few minutes, change partners, dance a little more and then take off for the next location.

The President and Vice President were on the same stage, only once.  They came together at the Kennedy Center.  The Bush party was already on the stage when the President and Mrs. Reagan joined us.  As they waved to the cheering crowd, our vantage point behind them, provided us with quite a unique view. The bright lights in front of them made Mrs. Reagan's white, one shouldered gown, completely see-through from behind.  She appeared to be stark naked.  I heard Mrs. Bush gasp at the same time I did, and later we vowed to keep what we had seen a secret.  We have done that all these years, but what the heck, it happened such a long time ago, and it sure was memorable.

George Walker Bush and Dick Cheney were being sworn in as President and Vice President.  Long time friends, Lynne and Dick asked Ron and me to be Honorary Inaugural Chairmen.  We were honored.  On the night of the Balls, we made the rounds with them.  The offstage announcer would introduce us, Ron would introduce Lynne and she'd introduce the Vice President.  Eleven times, at eleven different Balls we did the same thing.


Ron and I cherish our Inaugural memories.  We think we might hold the Guinness World Record for the most Inaugural Balls attended with a Vice President of the United States and a Second Lady.  We count a total of twenty-one.  Wonder if anyone can beat that?

May God grant President Obama the wisdom and the will to lead our country with fairness toward all her citizens.

Monday, January 14, 2013

RN @ 100

He would have loved it.  The faithful were gathered.   The venue was full.  The MC tried to get everyone to take their seats, but still they stood in the aisles, hugging, reminiscing, and not seeming to care one twit about sitting down for dinner.  The fire marshall was probably beside himself.  It was old times.  It was the best of times.  It was just like it used to be, when they ran the world for Him, who did it so well.  The more than 400 faces were wonderfully familiar: Tricia and Julie, Henry Kissinger, Dwight Chapin, Pat Buchanan, John Whitaker, Brent Scowcroft, Bruce Whelihan, Rob Odle, Henry Cashen, Bob Brown, Frank Gannon, Bill Codus, Hubert Perry . . . just to name a few.  And representing the outstanding group of Docents at the Nixon Library was Darlene Skye and her husband.

So what if they were all old now and He was gone.  They still relished their accomplishments as part of His team.  He had chosen them and they were proud to have served.  Richard Nixon's 100th birthday party was a wonderful celebration.

The cheap shots and familiar digs would come later, they always do. 

There are very few in the media who will recognize the accomplishments of the 37th President of the United States.  They only want to use the W word.  Watergate.  And the R word.  Resignation; as in the only President in U.S. history to resign.  We know that already.  We just want a balanced and fair shot with all the A words.  The Accomplishments.  They are many.  The list is long: Ending the draft, the all volunteer army, EPA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Parks in Urban Areas, desegregated schools went from 10 percent when he took office, to 70 percent, the War on Cancer, the opening of China, The Salt and ABM treaties, Saving Israel, and on and on and on.  We only want what's fair.  President Bill Clinton said that history should judge RN by his entire career and we agree.

His 100th Birthday Cake was a replica of the little house in Yorba Linda where he was born.  I couldn't believe it was a cake when I first saw it, and so I got real close to it, and took a big whiff. Sure enough, it smelled like cake. It was cake!  It was an amazing reproduction of the charming little house that his father, Frank Nixon built. The President would have loved that cake.

President Nixon told a great story about cakes.  His first advance man was Ace Anderson, and he got the job because he had a car that was a convertible.  He took young Dick Nixon all over Southern California during his first political campaign.  He put a Victrola on a loud speaker to attract attention.  However, the only record he had was, "If I'd Known You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a Cake."  The song blared through the sunny streets of many small towns, doing what it was supposed to do.  The people came out to see what in the world all the noise was about.  Young Dick Nixon stood on Ace's car and spoke to the people who were crowded around.  And so began his remarkable journey forward into history.

The Advance function was important to President Nixon and you will recall that he established the first White House Advance Office.  That office was well represented at the Gala by Ron Walker, Bill Henkel, Karen Hart Fuller, Julie Rowe Cooke and Sally Brinkerhoff Hartwig.  I took a picture of them to go along with the cake, but it didn't turn out.  Take my word for it, they all looked just the same as they did when they were helping the 37th President make history.