“Everything just fell into place with Ronnie and me. We completed each other.”
A Love Story That Spanned Over Five Decades, Two Hollywood Careers, A Two Term Presidency & The Ravages Of Alzheimers Disease.
By Mary B. Blair @Skifflegirl
“Nancy Reagan was an American woman who loved her county and her man.” said a mourner who came to pay his respects at the Simi Valley, California, Reagan Library where the former First Lady worked tirelessly for the past twelve years, scheduling debates and other events at the sprawling complex where her beloved Ronnie is buried.
She will join him there later this week.
Mrs. Reagan started out in life in New York City as Anne Frances Robbins, nicknamed ‘Nancy,’ the daughter of a salesman and a stage actress. Nancy was seven years old when she went to live with relatives after her father left the family and her mother was acting in traveling theater productions. All of that changed when her mother remarried. Loyle Davis was a wealthy neurosurgeon who adopted Nancy, changing her name to Nancy Davis.
After graduated college in 1943, Mrs. Reagan moved to Hollywood to pursue her dreams in the movies and later met Screen Actors Guild president Ronald Reagan. Nancy had discovered her name on a blacklist of suspected communist sympathizers but it was another actress with the same name. She contacted Reagan for his help to resolve her situation and they fell in love. Although he was still suffering the effects of his divorce from Jane Wyman, he relented and they married in 1952.
Nancy Reagan encouraged her husband’s career in Hollywood and later in politics, proving to be a valuable asset on the campaign trail and winning over support through her charm and devotion to her husband.
The juxtaposition of what the White House was during the Reagan years and today’s Obama Administration could not be more stark.
Mrs. Reagan was chastised for renovating and refurbishing The People’s House, which had fallen in to disrepair and neglect so severly that the china used for state dinners and entertaining foreign leaders was chipped and missing pieces. The First Lady was adamant about restoring the residence of the leader of the free world to dignity and class. She arranged for private fundraising to pay for the restorations and not a single federal dollar was spent.
Another brouhaha occurred when Mrs. Reagan accepted loaned designer gowns to wear at formal affairs. Unbelievably, one former fashion executive, who had loaned gowns to the First Lady and received the benefit of free international press, actually complained to the Internal Revenue Service after the Reagan’s left office in 1990. He was upset that she had never claimed the practice on her tax returns as a source of financial benefit! Compare that to the swooning media and fashion industry who breathlessly report on Michelle Obama’s $12,000 Carolina Herrera gown that, by the way, no one knows who paid for or how much. Oh, the hypocrisy!
While the press portrayed Nancy Reagan as privileged and distant, and had her detractors within the administration, she was always looking out for the President’s health and well being, highly conscientious of his schedule, sleep and nutrition. She was a powerful ally, but if you got on her bad side, you were gone.
During 1982, she proved to the country just how influential she was in helping to develop policy and traveling 250,000 miles promoting her Just Say No to drugs program.
Once out of the White House and the constant limelight, the devoted couple traveled the world and established the Reagan Library until Alzheimer’s Disease took it’s awful toll.
Nancy Reagan touched the hearts of the world when she refused to leave her husband’s casket at the end of his funeral. She could not bear to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved.
She became an advocate for embryonic stem cell research and lobbied President George W. Bush to fund research and pass legislation toward the goal of eliminating the disease that claimed President Reagan.
It seems right to quote one of President Reagan’s most iconic speech, given after the space shuttle Challenger accident.
“They honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them… as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”