Monday, June 07, 2004

How I know Ronnie

If someone had asked me three days ago who Ronnie was, my first answer probably would have been, "Jackie's family's dog...she's so cute!"

After working early this morning with NPR in the background, I can't get Ronnie The Dog's namesake off my mind. Yesterday, President Ronald Reagan passed away.

I was busy learning to tie my shoes and taking swimming lessons during his terms in office. I don't remember much about Gorbachev, missiles, or Libya...I do remember sitting in my Nain's kitchen drawing a picture of President Reagan in the Oval Office. I haven't a clue what inspired me to draw that picture, but my government prof would probably be happy with my conclusion that presidential marketing must have been effective if it even biased the crayons of Americans under 10.

My dear dad granted my request. He mailed my drawing with my carefully constructed letter to the White House. I imagined that portrait in many situations...the President shuffling through mail (House bills, Senate subscriptions, etc.) until he stumbled upon my envelope and smiled...a souvenir White House magnet holding up my picture on the Presidential icebox...a stack of other kids' portraits with mine stuck between the one from Nebraska and the one from Russia.

Several months later, Dad took a manila envelope with my name it from the mailbox. Inside, a letter on Presidential stationary thanked me for writing and a booklet full of color photos offered my first look inside the White House. I loved the series of the "Color Rooms" the, blue, green. I was sure the addition of violet and yellow rooms would be a hot topic for the next election.

So here's to the two Ronnie's I know - Jackie's cute dog and one of my first portrait sitters.



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