Trude B. Feldman, an international journalist and correspondent since the John F Kennedy presidency, has also been a contributing editor for WorldTribune.com since 2001. Miss Feldman interviewed Ronald Reagan at the 1980 Republican national convention in Detroit. The interview was published on Feb. 6, 1981 as he celebrated his 70th birthday in the White House. She also published birthday interviews and features on each of his birthdays through his 93rd. (He died on June 5, 2004 at age 93.)
Never published, however, is the following letter, dated Feb. 11, 1987, written to Trude B. Feldman and personally signed in the Oval Office by President Reagan. Recently, Miss Feldman found in her files what she describes as the "letter of devotion" while preparing her in-depth recollection in commemoration of Ronald Wilson Reagan’s 100th birthday.
| Nancy and Ronald Reagan.
With Nancy Davis Reagan now celebrating her 90th birthday, we publish this surprise "birthday gift" from her husband, America’s 40th President.
Your questions were waiting for me this morning (the morning after our phone conversation). They had just been placed on my desk. Here is my try at providing answers:
What has Nancy meant to me — since I met her? As a girlfriend, wife, first lady?
Answer: She moved into my heart and replaced an emptiness I'd been trying to ignore for a long time. She turned away from a very promising career in pictures because she believed being a wife was a full time career and, if that included being a First Lady, she'd be a First Lady.
How has she helped you cope with today's crisis? Other crises and problems?
Answer: She has made it so natural for us to be as one that we never face anything as the problem of one or the other of us, it is ours to be dealt with as something affecting the two of us.
How is she coping?
Answer: Nancy simply saw our present position as something that happened to us together and she picked up the duties she saw as those of First Lady and began performing them. And, may I say, in great style.
What would you change in your relations with her if you could relive the years?
Answer: Why should I try to change something that's already perfect? For 35 years I've been blessed with a relationship that is as wonderful as an adolescent's dream of what marriage should be.
Is there anything about her that you'd like to change?
Answer: Well, she worries when she thinks something might go wrong or upset me. If she'd only realize that nothing important can go wrong as long as I have her.
For me, what is her greatest asset? As First Lady?
Answer: That she puts up with me and that her heart is big enough to want to help people in any way she can.
Anything I want to add about Nancy? — And how my love manifested itself over the years — right up to now, and how she is supporting me, especially at this time?
Answer: What can I say? Being married to Nancy is like coming in from out of the cold to a warm room and an open fire. I miss her if she just goes down the hall to another room.