Remembering Reagan - Anne Higgins
Former Director of Correspondence
When I first began work as President Reagan's Director of Correspondence I soon realized that this is a man who never lost a friend. Many letters came to my desk each week from his hometown, Dixon, and Eureka College. They were sent to him in our weekly samples; he always responded, recalling times they shared, and even knowing spouses' names. He also heard from many Hollywood friends, not just fellow actors, but stuntmen, stagehands and others associated with film-making. One letter came to him, a former stuntman, then retired, and in his late 70s asked President Reagan if he could go on the next shuttle launch. Not knowing how to respond, we sent it to the President who immediately wrote back to his friend, "if anyone can do it, you surely could. I'll send your request on to NASA with my recommendation."
Sometimes we may typing errors in letters sent to him for his signature; to save the secretaries from having to retype it, he would correct the error with his own pen. He always wrote on both sides of his yellow paper pad and he never failed to put the address on the top of the letter. If he didn't have the zip code, he would put (zip code?). He often included a check for someone he thought might need a boost. He was particularly fond of the White House volunteers and came to see and thank them on several occasions.
There are so many happy incidents I could relate, but I can say without a doubt that he took a personal interest in the citizens who wrote to him; no one thought their job was menial - each of us knew of the President's personal interest and trust in our work.
What made me particularly pleased was his strong anti-abortion stand. He met with pro-life leaders every January 22 on the anniversary of abortion decision. On one occasion as the participants were leaving after a half hour discussion, he stood and said in a strong voice, "Wait a minute we haven't talked about the pain a baby must feel in an abortion I think you should make more of that." The next year, Dr. Bernard Nathanson brought his video, "The Silent Scream" to the meeting. It was shown on the White House video system.