Disgraced President Richard Nixon was just like the everyone else in his youth. A sweetheart had caught his eye before he entered into public office and he wanted to make her his steady and best gal.
Six love letters to his wife-to-be have been revealed will be on display March 16, 2012, as part of an exhibit celebrating the 100th birthday of his wife, Patricia Nixon, at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif.
Years before he entered into public office, Nixon began courting Patricia Ryan, whom he met during a community theater production.
Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy, Nixon writes in one undated letter, according to The Associated Press. Let's go for a long ride Sunday; let's go to the mountains weekends; let's read books in front of fires; most of all, let's really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours.
The correspondence between the two future White House inhabitants offers a rare glimpse into the closely guarded private life of Richard Nixon.
These letters are fabulous, said Olivia Anastasiadis, supervisory museum curator, according The Associated Press. It's a totally different person from the Watergate tapes that people know. President Nixon started out as an idealistic young man ready to conquer the world and with Pat Ryan he knew he could do it. There's a lot of hope, there's a lot of tenderness and it's very poetic.
Reading excerpts from the letters, there appears to a major contrast to the Richard Nixon history recorded, the stoic leader embroiled in controversy.
Nixon and his future wife met while auditioning for The Dark Tower, in the California town of Whittier. The dated for two years before he proposed to her, delivering an engagement ring in a basket with mayflowers. The couple married on June 21, 1940.
Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know. An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire, Nixon wrote, according to The Associated Press. Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?
In some of the letters, Nixon uses the words thee instead of you, to refer to his fiancée. Raised as a Quaker, the pronoun is used in order to convey a sense of closeness between two individuals.
Patricia responded to his letters, but originally, did not appear as interested.
In case I don't see you before why don't you come early Wednesday (6) - and I'll see if I can burn a hamburger for you, she wrote.
However, she eventually came around and fell head-over-heels for him.
She was quite an independent young lady and she was very cautious about anyone she met and if they couldn't smile, she wouldn't want to do too much unless she could make them smile. That captured Dick's imagination, said Nixon's youngest brother, Ed in an interview with The Associated Press. She was challenging. She challenged me and I think she challenged Dick.
Even with fallout from the Watergate Scandal, Patricia stood by her husband. She died in 1993, a day after their 53rd wedding anniversary.
She was with him the whole way; she never lost faith in him. Her feeling was that it was the country's loss when he had to resign, that he had accomplished so much good and had so much more good to accomplish, said Robert Bostock, a consultant to the Richard Nixon Foundation, which is co-sponsoring the exhibit, and a former aide to Nixon after he left the White House, according to The Associated Press. Her favorite saying was, 'Onward and upward.' She spent no time looking back. She was always looking forward.