I'm a writer . I sat down one day and wrote the following essay . Please disregaurd my comments on stem cell research because I know some people here don't support it and I really don't want to ruffle feathers:
Nancy Reagan: Devoted First Lady”
By Jamie Farrar
She was born Anne Frances Robbins on July 6th, 1921. Her childhood would be considered rough by anyone’s standards but her own. Little Anne Frances hated her name and went by “Nancy” which is what her mother, actress Edith Luckett nicknamed her.
Nancy’s father leaved soon after she was born. Realizing she had a daughter to support, Edith went back on the road and left little Nancy with her aunt and uncle in Maryland. Mother and daughter would see each other on occasion.
When Nancy was eight, her mother remarried to doctor Loyal Davis, who adopted Nancy and was the only man she considered to be her father. Eager to eliminate her given name of Anne Frances Robbins, she proudly changed it to Nancy Davis at the age of fourteen (Which was the age a person could legally do so back then) little did Nancy Davis know what Fate had in store for her.
After graduating from Smith College in the 40s, she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become an actress. She was signed to MGM but never gotten as popular as the likes of Judy Garland and Heady Lamar. One day, Nancy found herself on the blacklist for communists supporters and consulted her producer, Mervin Leroy to straighten this out. Leroy set her up on a blind date with Ronald Reagan, who was president of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Surly; he would be able to settle the matter. They met for dinner that night and it was love at first sight for both parties.
Reagan loved her eyes, smile and laugh. Nancy loved Reagan's sense of humor and personality. “He wasn’t like the other actors I’d known. He didn’t talk about himself: My first picture, my next picture” . As soon as his divorce from first wife, Jane Wyman was finalized, Nancy and Ronald Reagan married on March 4th, 1952. . It was a small wedding but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they had each other. Their first child, Patti was born on Oct 23, 1952, just six months later. Their son Ron would be born on May 20th, 1958.
Reagan’s acting career was getting more and more political. He decided to run for governor of California and won two consecutive terms. Being First Lady of California; Nancy was able to give back to the community. She re-instated the “Foster Grandparents Program”, which matched lonely elderly people with mentally challenged children . The program was a huge success and is still in use today.
In 1980, after many tries for the presidency, Ronald Reagan finally won He served two terms and still remains upon the most popular of US presidents. Poor Nancy wasn’t as lucky. The press criticized her every move. They thought she was too extravagant, they hated the way she dressed, they even threw a fit when she redid the White House, which was falling apart. Nothing she did seemed to please them. One day she was visiting a grade school to read to a group of kids. One girl raised her hand and said, “Mrs. Reagan, what do you do when somebody offers you drugs?” The First Lady thought for a moment then smiled at the girl “Well, just say no”. Realizing what a problem drug use was in America, Mrs. Reagan went back to the White House and together with her top aid; Mike Deaver came up with the “Just Say No” anti drug program. "Just Say No" became a house hold catchphrase
The press was starting to respect her a little more but, not much. This would change after leaving the White House of course.
In November of 1994, Ronald Reagan announced to the world in a hand written letter that he had Alzheimer’s disease, a brain damaging disease in which the brain loses all ability to remember and function over time. His suffering lasted ten very long years and Mrs. Reagan was there at every moment of everyday for that time period . She raised awareness for this terrible disease by going on TV news programs like :"60 Minutes" and "Larry King Live" . Mostly though, she stayed home and cared for her “Ronnie”. It must have been so heartbreaking for her to endure that pain. . I know from personal experince how heartbreaking it is to watch someone you love suffer with a long disease . You feel completely helpless .
In 2001, she was the first person to publicly advocate embryonic stem cell research. She wrote a letter to the president begging him to make a federal grant for this research. He responded to her by banning it. She went against him again in May of 2004 and spoke at a diabetic fundraiser: “Ronnie’s long journey has finally taken him to a place where I can no longer reach him. I just don’t see how we could turn our backs on this. There are so many diseases that could be cured or at least helped!”
A month later, the world said goodbye to “The Gipper” in a weeklong mourning and outpouring of grief. All of the services were televised and are now available from the Reagan Library on DVD. I watched in awe of this graceful woman. On the outside, she was tiny but for so long she held the weight of the world on her shoulders. Now, it was America’s turn to raise her up, to embrace her with loving arms and sooth her pain. Only at the very end did she break down mouthing the words, “goodbye Ronnie” and sobbing on the casket as her children and grandchildren gathered around her. According to Patti, she said,”I don’t want to leave him here. I don’t want to say goodbye.”
It easy to see why I admire Nancy Reagan. She is a strong woman yet, graceful and warm. She cared for her “Ronnie” for ten years and went up against all odds for a cure for the disese that stole away her happy ending with the man she loved . She's still fighting , still going againist all odds to save counless families from the pain that she endured . And it's not just Alzheimer's that can be abolished here . There is hope for so many diseases .
On May 11th , 2005, Mrs. Reagan returned to DC to be honored for her good works . It was her first time back since the state funeral and was broadcasted on C-Span . Thinking about my reasons for respecting Mrs Reagan, I came upon a more personal connection. She reminds me of Great Grandma Pearl , who I lovingly called , Nama. Nama was a strog willed , loving , determinded woman who loved her family and faught for what she believed in . She was my only motherly influence and helped shape me to be a better person then my verbally absive mother . She and my father were my saving grace growing up.
I see so much of her in Nancy Reagan . Even Mrs. Reagan's voice is similar . I hope to someday meet this incredible woman and tell her thank you for making a differnce . My chance might come this summer . We shall see .