Richard Milhous Nixon
IN ONE WORD: Studious
We knew Dick Nixon since before forever. His family was 8 years one block over and one block down from the house in which this note is now penned. He, like Jack, took an interest in what a kid had to say. The sorrow of Nixon was his being Nixon. Had he not been, he very likely would have been listed as one of the all-time great Presidents. But, of course, he was Nixon. And that, was that. Dick Nixon feared only one man in American politics~~George Wallace~~in whose eyes, Nixon saw the frightening glint of the people~~a nightmarish sight for any politician at this city~~and, when Nixon saw that glint~~he was deathly afraid. I remember standing on the White House porch with him on a State visit from the Emperor of Persia. Uncle Richard nudged me and said “say something to His Majesty–where are your manners?” I turned to Mohammad Rezā and said “what a great jacket”~~ Mohammad Rezā was all done up in a Royal Blue dress military jacket~~really a swell jacket~~in particular for this city~~ and at first, when I said this to him, Uncle Richard and Nixon and his men looked alarmed but the Emperor smiled at me, laughed and, pointing at the traffic going by the fence said “the absolutely worse use of petroleum I can ever imagine.” No President I met or knew of worked harder than did Nixon–he was incredibly studious–but–in the end~~very sadly~~as LBJ had his bottle, so Nixon, who also took up that bottle when the going got rough, had himself~~and died because of it. I wonder that, if even now, in death, it has ever dawned upon him that Jack was far, far more class-concerned, timid, and socially maladroit than was Nixon–had he known that, might it have changed things~~as with life generally, post-mortem “what ifs,” are foolish and useless chatter. Even still~~Still~~what if?