Nancy Reagan died yesterday at the age of 94. The former First Lady was married to President Ronald Reagan for 52 years, until he died in 2004. Throughout their marriage, the two exchanged many handwritten letters – here are 6 of my personal favorites.
My Darling Wife
This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into by some of our so called friends — (ha!) calendar makers and even our own children. These and others would have you believe we’ve been married 20 years.
20 minutes maybe — but never 20 years. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes — and my happiness keeps on increasing.
I will confess to one puzzlement but I’m sure it is just some trick perpetrated by our friends — (Ha again!) I can’t remember ever being without you and I know I was born more than 20 mins ago.
Oh well — that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.
Your husband of 20 something or other.
2. Valentine’s Day, 1977
Dear St. Valentine,
I’m writing to you about a beautiful young lady who has been in this household for 25 years now—come March 4.
I have a request to make of you but before doing so feel you should know more about her. For one thing she has 2 hearts—her own and mine. I’m not complaining. I gave her mine willingingly, and like it right where it is. Her name is Nancy but for some time now I’ve called her Mommie and don’t believe I could change.
My request of you is—could you on this day whisper in her ear that someone loves her ver much and more and more each day? Also tell her, this “Someone” would run down like a dollar clock without her so she must always stay where she is.
Then tell her if she wants to know who that “Someone” is to just turn her head to the left. I’ll be across the room waiting to see if you told her. If you’ll do this for me, I’ll be very happy knowing that she knows I love her with all my heart.
Thank you, “Someone”
Dear Mrs. Reagan And you are Mrs. Reagan because Mr. Reagan loves you with all his heart. Every time Mr. Reagan sees the evening star or blows out the birthday candles or gets the big end of the wishbone he thinks the same wish—a prayer really—that so much happiness will go on and somehow be deserved by him.
It is true sometimes that Mr. Reagan loses his temper and slams a door but that’s because he can’t cry or stamp his foot—(he isn’t really the type.) But mad or glad Mr. Reagan is head over heels in love with Mrs. Reagan and can’t even imagine a world without her—
He loves her
A few days ago you told me I was angry with you. I tried to explain I was frustrated with myself. But later on I realized that my frustration might have been a touch of self-pity because I’d been going around feeling that you are frequently angry with me.
No more. We are so much “one” that you are as vital to me as my own heart—with one exception; you could never be replaced with a transplant.
Whatever I treasure and enjoy—this home, our ranch, the sight of the sea—all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you. I live in a permanent Christmas because God gave me you. As I write this, you are hurrying by—back and forth doing those things only you can do and I get a feeling of warm happiness just watching you. That’s why I can’t pass you or let you pass me without reaching to touch you. (Except now or you would see what I’m doing.)
I’ll write no more because I’m going to catch up with you wherever you are and hold you for a moment.
Merry Christmas Darling—I love you with all my heart.
5. On Their 19th Wedding Anniversary, 1971
Dear Mrs. Reagan,
Your loving, faithful devotion has been observed these 19 (some say 20) years. There are no words to describe the happiness you have brought to the Gov. It is no secret that he is the most married man in the world and would be totally lost and desolate without you. It seemed to me you should know this and be aware of how essential you are in this man’s life. By his own admission, he is completely in love with you and happier than even a Gov. deserves.
With Love & Appreciation
—Your In Luv Guv.
6. Valentine’s Day, 1960
Ronald Reagan writes to Nancy on Valentine’s Day: pic.twitter.com/MgBDfRWDYp
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) March 6, 2016
Several of these letters are excerpted from Nancy’s book, “I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan,” which was published in 2000.