Skip to main content

My First First Lady


Nancy Reagan was the third First Lady of the United States during my lifetime, but the first one I remember. Through the prism of youth, I developed a great fondness for her. In adulthood, as I learned more details about her husband's presidency and her proclivities (astrology, anyone?), my opinion really wasn't too diminished. The strength of childhood appreciation is difficult to put asunder. And I do appreciate Nancy Reagan, even now that she is no longer with us, having passed away today at the age of 94.

The wife of our 40th president was an elegant ambassador for her husband and our country. Always well-dressed and well-spoken, she exuded class and dignity, while also coming across as relatable. It seems as though folks can sometimes get as passionate for or against a First Lady as they can for a president, but I've always considered Nancy Reagan one of the best. And before she rose to become the highest spouse in the land, she had a film career, and was a mother, daughter and, of course, loving wife.

It was Nancy's love for her husband that perhaps touched me the most. One afternoon I was watching C-SPAN (as you do), and they were interviewing Mrs. Reagan. I think it was at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, and am pretty certain it was while Ronald was still alive (though suffering greatly from Alzheimer's). I say this because much of the program was spent with Nancy recounting many of the couple's times together, and she remarked how the former president no longer remembered any of it.

Mrs. Reagan relayed a story of how, when they were younger, her and Ronald went canoeing together on a lake, and how beautiful it was.  It was old school. She let him do a lot of the heavy lifting, and enjoyed the relaxing time alone with her husband as he rowed them around the water. She painted the picture well, and the look on her face turned sad as it was now only her who remembered that once-shared memory. Indeed, I've often read how our relationships are a way for there to be a mirror for our lives, another echo of our experiences and existence. When that mirror cracks, or fades, it can be an unrecoverable loss.

Of course, no remembrance of Nancy Reagan would be complete without her famous Just Say No (to drugs) campaign. There is a cynicism that has developed around this in adulthood, but then I feel as though that's missing the point. As a kid, it had a powerful impact. I'll never forget watching the March 19, 1983 episode of Diff'rent Strokes when it first aired, and Mrs. Reagan made a special guest appearance to promote her initiative. Corny, yes? Effective? Also, yes. I remember one day on the grade school playground being offered something suspicious, and saying no. And I said no because the First Lady had told me to.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

3/4

Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....


1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night


It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

Unbound

"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…