You’ll realize that he and his older brother, Neil could not have been more opposite then what they were. Neil and Ronald originally were baptized as Christians, like their mother, but Neil soon converted to a Catholic like his father. Because he grew up severely near-sighted, Reagan had trouble learning to read. He did develop an impressive memory which helped him through school. He could recite back entire lessons given by his teachers. Once Reagan was fitted with glasses, he became a much better student.
His alcoholic father, Jack, who Reagan remembers finding drunk on the floor and passed out during his childhood, seemed to favor his older son and even said Ronald looked like “fat little Dutchman. ” This saddled the future President with the nickname “Dutch” for the rest of his life. His father remained a huge problem throughout his entire childhood, he’d frequently get drunk and though he wasn’t violent and still managed to work, Ronald once said “Sometimes my father disappeared and didn’t return home for days”, causing a lot of family problems.
Like any good wife, Nellie had good faith in her husband and encouraged her sons to do the same. However, his father’s problems didn’t stop him from succeeding at an early age. At just 9 he began performing in his mother’s plays at church (his brother and father were too busy joined at the hip, drinking) while Ronald favored his mother’s ways and was less outgoing at the young age. Both boys loved sports in their teens, and while Ronald’s eyesight prevented him from doing Baseball, he exceled at football, by identify his opponents from the team colors. He was very busy throughout his high school years.
He remained, like his mother active in church and plays, but along with football came swimming, basketball, drama club, art editor for the school, vice-president of the boys Hi-Y club, and writing. He was known for his photographic memory and even skipped a grade, but maintained a B average for the most part. He had his fair share of job experience early on by lifeguarding, construction, and caddying at the local country club at a young age. Jack Reagan was a diehard Democrat, and while Ronald followed at first, he later switched to the Republican Party in 1962.
The family moved from town to town for a while as Jack was unable to hold a job. The Reagans eventually settled in the city of Dixon, Illinois. In 1928, Ronald Reagan enrolled at Eureka College, a Disciples of Christ affiliated school in Illinois. The Great Depression would make attending college difficult for all the students. Reagan had to take several part-time jobs to help with tuition. Reagan had little idea of what he wanted to do after graduation, but he had an idea that he wanted to become a sportscaster. His life took off from there.
In June 1932 Ronald Reagan from graduate college with not so impressive grades, yet is still known to be one of the “smartest” Presidents of all time. While unsure of what the future held, he set out to find out. In 1932, the profession of sportscaster was in its infancy. After a few false starts, Reagan got a job with WOC in Davenport, Iowa as a sportscaster. He started out with college football, but would make a name for himself broadcasting baseball. Whether he was broadcasting his beloved baseball or becoming a movie star, he put his heart and soul into his work.
Maybe that is why, years after his presidency, he was given more credit that he had deserved all along. In 1938, Reagan co-starred in the film Brother Rat with actress Jane Wyman. They were engaged at the Chicago Theatre and married on January 26, 1940, at the Wee Kirk o’ the Heather church in Glendale, California. Together they had two biological children, Maureen (1941–2001) and Christine (who was born in 1947 but only lived one day), and adopted a third, Michael (born 1945). Wyman filed for divorce and Reagan became the only US President to have been divorced.
He soon after met his soul-mate, Nancy Davis. They married March 4th, 1952 and had two children of their own, Patti (born October 21, 1952) and Ron (born May 20, 1958). While he seemed like the ultimate family man, his children from his first marriage rarely saw their father growing up, spending most of the time in boarding schools and camps. Sure they were happy, but they weren’t one “big” happy family. The deeper into the book you get, the closer you get to what you are yearning for all along, Governor of California and President Ronald Reagan.
Governor of California from 1967-1975, he realized that he wanted more. Long gone were his days of baseball announcements and filming movies. While he tried to get a nomination for President in 1968, he realized it was Nixon’s time and soon after backed off to wait for his chance. He was very popular in California, regardless of being a Democratic turned Republican. He was easily re-elected as Governor. However, he chose not to run for a third term, instead focusing on his presidential campaign run for 1976.
As chapter seven comes to a close, you finally get a little taste of the life of the 40th President of the United States while in the White House. All of the battles and debates finally paid off for Ronald Reagan in 1980 when he finally won. Though you may think the story is almost over, it’s really just beginning for the man and what he will do for America. The author does a brilliant job at showing the little and big things he was a part of while in office. Things he didn’t receive credit for at the time. There are many reasons after all as to why he is one of the best we’ve ever had.