As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Left early for Phoenix. In a daze....
I can't believe Mother is dead.
When we landed in Phoenix, we went right to the mortuary where Mother was. She was in her red robe, gold beads and her little red mittens. Whether it was summer or winter, in her last years she wore those mittens. I took them off, I just wanted to have them.
"I don't know if you should do that, " Ronnie said.
And for one of the few times in our life together, I got mad at him, and shouted, "Do you want me to leave them there to be burned?"
Then I went to pieces.....
The above is an event in the life of Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan on the death of her mother. Whenever something happened in Nancy Davis' life it became the black hole of the universe and she was the center of it, and everyone was judged how much they contacted her.
She was a good patient in the hospital and she got along with people, but she was the polar opposite of Ronald Reagan where his center was with other people. When he was shot or being treated, he always was joking to put people at ease so they would not be uneasy about the situation.
The situation with Mrs. Reagan's mother was difficult as she was suffering from senility, but to read her daughter's memories of the event, culminated in her carrying on about her dead mother, it begs the question if her mother was so important to her, then why was she not moved from her apartment in Arizona to the White House? Why was Mrs. Reagan only making time for two visits a year?
See on the outside Nancy Reagan had her life, and then there were the excuses of it was alright to warehouse her mother in a nice apartment with care, because Nancy Reagan was too glamorous to deal with the situation. For all the good Nancy Reagan did with her child advocacy, it is telling that she never advocated for her own mother in care for the senile, a condition which would later kill her husband.
This is not about judging Nancy Reagan, but pointing out the facts. She was a distant daughter, but upon death her mother became the center of the world in Nancy Reagan constructed a one act play about how much her mother meant to her.
In the opening diary entry of Mrs. Reagan, she states that it was one of the few times that she ever got mad her husband. The reason that never happened, was because he first time this happened, it so injured Ronald Reagan emotionally, he walked on egg shells his entire marriage and he could never be himself.
I have a personal story about Ronald Reagan from my brother in law, whose brother worked at 1600 Penn Avenue. He stated that Ronald Reagan was the genuine man. The laughing, joking, good natured one of the Irish boys, was who Ronald Reagan was. He truly was Little Miss Sunshine.
The story was though, Ronald Reagan could be joking and having fun, until Nancy Reagan appeared, and then it was all straighten your act up and being somber. That is what that marriage was in Nancy Reagan got her way and made Ronald Reagan into a mask of what he was not, so he would not get his ass chewed.
One must understand the Reagans in they both wanted to belong to someone. Ronald Reagan was mistreated by Jane Wyman his first wife, as she wanted to be the star inside and outside the home. She made a cutting remark once that all Ronald Reagan did was talk about the union and work and it bored her. Nancy Reagan instead listened, and that validated Ronald Reagan, and that is why their marriage worked. It worked because she did what she had to do to convince Ronald Reagan that she was the person he could belong to and that is all he ever wanted in life.
That is what the mittens incident is telling about. Ronald Reagan respected the dead. He knew very well that you do not start undressing a dead body, and begin with the most personal possession an old woman had in her red mittens, but Nancy Reagan grabbed for them to take a piece of her mother that she had been warehousing in Arizona. That is why she chewed Ronald Reagan's ass, as she knew it was wrong to steal from the dead, but she just had to steal from the dead to make up for all the emotional emptiness.
Afterwards she gave away most of what her mother had, except for the expensive things, which again, she was giving away her grief and hording what was really valuable to her.
In most marriages, it is either a choice of being more miserable alone or handling the misery of being married. It is one misery or another. Few and far between are good marriages as in every case it is one side giving more than the other by half. Ronald Reagan gave and gave, and Nancy Reagan kept control. I do not say that Nancy Reagan was not a good wife, but she did things which dishonored her husband as throwing out his clothes or being so panic attack in turning to horoscopes and running up huge bills for that. Ronald Reagan validated her a great deal and that is what she was phobic about as all that would be left was Nancy Davis without Ronald Reagan.
The true nature of people comes out in stress. Nancy Reagan was not very attractive in stress and she liked sympathy and always enjoyed control. It is why Patti and her never got along, it is because Patti wanted to be her father in the center of her mother's world and Nancy would not give up control, so the epic battle waged making everyone miserable, until Ronald Reagan died, then Nancy needed Patti, and Patti got control in the place of her father.
Nancy Reagan never felt moved enough to apologize in her diary to her husband for snapping at him. That is what her world was as she was the center of attention. It was who she was, and the person she always was. There is not any judgment in this, in she is not better or worse than any other First Lady. She simply is who she is, and in that honest assessment it allows one to understand why she did things and why she was the person she was.