A Memory By Mary Wenger
It was November 8, 1972, the evening of President Richard Nixon’s re election. My husband was head of Nixon’s news summary staff – Pat Buchanan was his boss. In the future I would be working for two other presidents, but for now, I was a ‘go to’ gal for the Republicans, and I was about to have a singular adventure in The White House.
On this evening, I was alone in the Old Executive Office Building, running back and forth to the main white house all night, carrying papers and messages to the employees who would later be bussed to the Shoreham Hotel. There, in front of his family and loyal staff, The President would accept his second term, a landslide victory against George McGovern.
The White House was deserted, except for a lone guard who stood outside the President’s office. He was a young man, and he looked quite tired like me, having been there all night, like me. I asked him if I could look inside. He said yes. I asked him if I could go inside, and he just turned his back and yawned. So in I went.
The room was large and beautifully furnished. On one side stood an enormous desk with nothing on top except one book, “The Winds Of War “by Herman Wouk, a famous writer of the times.
Across the President’s desk was a huge color television set. There I was, sitting in the President’s chair, casually dressed in slacks and loafers, watching him once again accept the position of President of the United States, and in color! A color TV was not all as ubiquitous as it is today. I was also sitting where few (if any) females had sat before, much less anyone other than the President himself. This moment was special.
I stayed there as long as I could – the guard left his post for a snack – which was more than an hour. The bus was bringing everybody back – it’s now nearing 1 AM on November 8th – and Mrs. Nixon had invited all of us to a celebration in the White House’s family rooms, but I did not go. My night of wonder was complete.
I have many special memories to recall when I am down or unhappy, or ill or lonely. This is one of them.