Thursday, September 14, 2000

Love letters

The Gipper and Nancy Poo Pants

        I didn't really need to know that the 40th president of the United States and leader of the free world called his wife “Nancy Poo Pants” in private.

        And even though Nancy Reagan herself has reported this (here's one that can't be blamed on the media), I can't help wondering if the Big Guy wouldn't have voted to keep the information private.

        Or this:

        “Do you know that when you sleep you curl your fists up under your chin and many mornings when it is barely dawn I lie facing you and looking at you until I finally have to touch you ever so lightly so you won't wake up — but touch you I must or I'll burst?”

The "Luv Guv'
        I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan appearedin bookstores this week. The former first lady says she kept her husband's notes, cards and letters starting in 1950 and had intended to donate them to the Ronald Reagan Library.

        “And yet as I read them once again,” Mrs. Reagan writes, “fishing around in the shopping bag I kept them in and pulling them out one after another, remembering and enjoying Ronnie's humor and style, his presence and his love, I was struck by how much they said about him — not just as a president, but as a man.”

        Most of us are willing — even eager — to believe our first couples are happily married. We used to just take this on faith. But not lately.

        Jay Leno cracked, “Now, Hillary Clinton — she is planning a similar book of Clinton's love notes. In fact, she's collected over 100 from 30 different women.”

        The Reagan book is corny. Sentimental. Personal. The self-described “Luv Guv” tells his wife “I can never get enough of kissing you.” Publicly he called himself “the most married man in America.”

        Apparently he was telling the truth. And he wasn't even under oath.

        No cameras. No speech writers. And no ghostwriters. This includes President Reagan's gracious public farewell.

        “Ronnie wrote the Alzheimer's letter at a table in the library and gave it to me to read before it was released. I was surprised when people later asked who had drafted the letter, because it seemed so clear to me that they were his words, that it was his natural way of writing,” Mrs. Reagan writes.

        Royalties from the book (Random House, $24.94, 189 pages) will be donated to the Alzheimer's Foundation and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation for the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum.

        Sales around here are relatively brisk.

        “We've just put it out and have sold 10 copies already,” says Richard Bowen of Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood. “We anticipate it will sell very well.”

        Zack Calla-Stier of Barnes & Noble in Hyde Park says, “We're impressed with its first week of sales.”

        At the Springdale Borders, Mark Neack reports a slow start, “but I think it's bound to pick up during the holidays.” A nice gift for the Republican in your life. Or for the cynic.

        George W. Bush smiles and waves to an audience while calling a reporter in that audience an unprintable name. The Gores share an uncomfortably intimate public kiss. And the country wonders if it's real.

        So I thought at first I probably didn't need to know what a president had to say when he didn't know the world would be listening.

        Maybe I was wrong.

       E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393.


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