Childhood Memories Friday: Nixon Resigns

President Nixon in parade Nixon resigns

It’s election season. Most people seem to fall into one of two groups: those who enjoy all things election-related, and those who hate them or don’t pay attention to them. I’m definitely in the former group; always have been.

Johnson was President when I was born, but Nixon is the first President I really remember. I would have just turned 4 when he was elected. Being so young, I didn’t really know his positions on the issues, but I liked him. Our family liked him. We had gone to visit the spot where his mother had lived as a child, which was not far from our hometown. Once someone asked me what was so great about Nixon. I remember asking my dad, who said, “He normalized relations with China.” So, I repeated that, although I had no idea what it meant. I’m still not real clear on it.

But anyway, Nixon was a positive figure in our household. One night, in August 1974, when I was nine, my mom said we all had to watch TV. I can’t remember if she had told me why or not, but evidently I knew that something big was going down. I decided to commemorate the occasion with an original bit of embroidery.

Nixon resigns

I planned to embroider “Pres. Nixon” at the top, then below that (inexplicably) a fish, and at the bottom, the date: August 9, 1974. I can tell this was important to me, as evidenced by the fact that I cut out the fabric with the revered pinking shears. And evidently, President Nixon didn’t speak nearly long enough — because I never finished.

I had heard about Watergate. I, perhaps, had a vague idea about the happenings. But still, it seemed wrong that these events led to President Nixon resigning. His wife and daughters looked so tragic, standing behind him. Years later, I wrote Nixon a letter, telling him about how much I had respected him. I felt sure this letter would be so moving to him that he would respond — but he never did. Instead, my vision of Nixon would always be the memory of that speech, and also the fuzzy half-image of him in a car, in a parade where we had gone to see him. Unless Trump wins, I guess Nixon is the only living President I have seen in person.

I would go on to see another President impeached (I remember watching that on TV), and another candidate who erased far more than 18 1/2 minutes of tape, yet who would be widely expected in the press to be elected. President Nixon must be turning in his grave.

How about you? Do you remember watching Nixon resign?





5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Nixon Resigns

  1. I was in Florida with my Mom–we were staying with my VERY GOP grandmother who just kept saying “That poor man…..” My Dad, back home, had a very rare drink to celebrate! lol Interesting post–too bad he didn’t at least have staff respond to your letter.

  2. I remember it. What he did was wrong, but the fact that he resigned because of it, as compared to the woman who is now celebrated for doing so much worse, just shows how badly the morality of our nation has deteriorated in these past years. Who would have imagined that we would see such deterioration within our live time?

  3. We lived in the Washington area at that time. So yes, I remember it very clearly. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I agree with Elaine on what she says about the deterioration of our nation’s morality. I lived in the DC area for 34 years and the only President I saw was LBJ as he drove out of the side entrance of the White House. He was in the back seat of a black limousine and drove by quickly so couldn’t see him very well. With us were some relatives from southern Indiana who were Democrats and they were extremely happy to experience that.

  4. I have only vague memories of it. I didn’t really know what was happening. My parents weren’t very political. I remember Kennedy and Johnson, but still vaguely. The first president I voted for, and I think the only one I saw in person, was Reagan. I still miss that man. I saw Ladybird Johnson when I lived in southeast TX and she was on a beautification campaign that involved a local island. I had an opportunity to shake her hand but stayed back because I was too shy. 🙂 My husband has seen, met, and shaken hands with Obama – he and Biden came to his plant while visiting TN and viewed a 3D printed car that his company supplied the materials for. We didn’t vote for him, but still respect the office. I’ve been appalled at what people excuse or put up with in office since Clinton’s era.

  5. Your post brought back a memory for me…one that is not so good. My mother-in-law at the time lorded over me with glee when Nixon resigned! While I appreciated Ruth as a good person, we could never agree on politics or religion! She believed that only a baptism in a river was good enough!! Enough on that, because I always did think that Nixon got ripped off for doing such a minor offense. I agree with your Aunt Elaine about the downward path that our country has taken, and I feel that much of it has been created or caused by the Democrats, most especially the Clintons and the Obamas.

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