When I was little, I had a lot of wonderful female influences. My mother was and still is amazing. I have several wonderful and beloved Aunts, and I was fortunate enough to know both of my grandmothers through until I became an adult. Later on I was blessed with many teachers that I respected. I have certainly not lacked for shining examples of women in my life. But as a little girl, I had lots and lots of “idols”. Of course I’ve mentioned one of those idols on this blog before and that was Ms Dolly Parton. I admired her and still do admire her fiercely. Back then it was because of the flashy outfits, the big hair and makeup, and especially her singing. While I still admire those traits in her, now, my respect for Dolly has grown into so much more. There was, however; another strong and tiny lady that I admired very, very much, and the world lost this lovely lady this week: Nancy Reagan.
I was born under Ford, and I was too little to remember much about Carter, other than my Pappaw was for him and he had yellow hair, so I drew him in Kindergarten as my vote for President that year. I really grew up under Reagan. And even though I drew Carter in Kindergarten, Reagan, during my lifetime, was always an impressive man and Commander in Chief. But it was that tiny little lady behind that handsome, dark-haired man that I always looked to though. I can remember her red suit-dress and red Jackie-O style hat. She was just the epitome of class. I remember how elegant she looked in that one shouldered white gown she wore to one of the Inaugural parties. She was always dressed so elegantly. I remember how she would look at the President. You could see the love, respect, and admiration that she held for him as she watched him. You could see the same love, respect, and admiration in his eyes when he looked back at her. I always felt that this is how a wife and husband should look to the rest of the world. There was never any question in my mind of their love and devotion. I remember that I always saw this huge presence from her. She was small in stature but there was something in the way that she carried herself that just exuded confidence, class, and so many things greater than her physical size. I remember believing and will always believe that she and her husband were the best of friends and that they did all things together, completely in support of one another, again, the way marriages are supposed to be. I also remember thinking that she had to be one of the strongest women I’d ever seen, especially after the assassination attempt on her husband. I couldn’t imagine going through something like that, seeing the man you love that close to dying and still present a public face the way she did.
I could go on and on for pages about the things I remember of Mrs. Reagan. I guess with everyone sharing memories of her life and the woman that she was, I wanted an opportunity to share mine. I also wanted to say, Thank You Mrs. Reagan for being such a wonderful role model to young women of my generation. Thank you for showing us that we could dream of finding a romance like you and the President had. Thank you for showing us how women should behave in the public eye. Thank you for showing us that you could still be a very powerful person and still be tiny in size. And Thank you for showing us that it was ok for a woman to be direct and to speak her mind! My parent’s generation had Camelot and the Kennedy’s to be in awe of, but my Camelot was in watching the President and Mrs. Reagan and being thankful that I was alive to watch it all happen in real time. So truly, Mrs. Reagan, Thank You for being one of my lifelong heroes. May you and President Reagan be dancing in heaven and happily reunited now. Rest in Peace Pretty Lady.