Nancy With the Laughing Face

“I’m reminded of my parents’ teachings…everything works out for the best and individuals determine their destiny through ambition and hard work.” –Ronald Reagan

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These are wise words from my favorite president. This is the first quote you see when you enter the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in California. I may not have been alive during his presidency, but I willingly watched his televised funeral. His final term ended six years before I was born, but I still think he is the bee’s knees. I love the beautiful museum that is dedicated to him. And his wife is adorable; who doesn’t love Nancy Reagan?

I have always loved baseball, and I come from a family of devoted fans. The sport may not have been my strong suit, by any means, but if I had the chance to go to game, you bet your ass I would be there. I cannot say no to hot dogs, nachos, and America’s favorite past time. At the RRLM (let’s just call it that for the sake of space) until September 4th, there is a huge History of Baseball exhibit. I couldn’t wait to see it with my family. I didn’t take too many pictures of it, but you can’t capture the greatness that filled the rooms.

IMG_3733This is the big tent full of pictures and models and videos and history. It was so cool. The room was centered by this mini baseball diamond, which many children were running around and around. In the photo you can see a little boy in an orange shirt running the bases. He was so adorable; I just wanted to wrap him up and take him home with me.

Most of this tent was about the Dodgers and Yankees, but there were plenty of other things displayed on the walls.

IMG_3735This wall was dedicated to Jackie Robinson. I couldn’t believe his actual jersey was hanging right there! There was more in the exhibit about him, but this was all encompassed in one place, while the other things were more scattered.

IMG_3736The first baseball card I ever acquired was of Mickey Mantle, so when I saw this plaque for his MVP award, I had to take a picture. I thought it was so cool. I was really young when I got that baseball card, and at the time, I didn’t realize how big a player he was. Now I feel extra special that I picked out the right one!

IMG_3734 IMG_3737There was also these two models of original baseball fields. The top one is of Yankee Stadium and it is giagantic. I thought these fields were big in real life? The actual stadium must be enormous. I’d love to see a game there one day.

The bottom picture is of the original plans for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, which I have been to many times. Traffic is worse than awful trying to leave because it’s on a mountain, but the view of downtown is beautiful.

There was also a model of Fenway Park, but I suppose I didn’t take a picture of that one…I’m not sure why. It was pretty cool to see though. Baseball stadiums seem like they are all the same, but I think it is cool to see how all of them vary in some way, shape, or form.

Inside the actual museum part of the exhibit (not in the tent), there was mostly jerseys, bios, gloves, etc. It was pretty awesome to see how much the styles have changed over the years. Maybe I just have a love for vintage, but I enjoyed walking through the pictures and shirts. I also just love history of things like this, so that could also be why I found the artifacts cool rather than boring.

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This is a picture and description of the very first baseball card, which I thought was awesome. The first card was made for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first wholly professional team, in 1869. They were famous for winning 88 games in a row.

The coolest part of the exhibit, in my opinion, was the wall dedicated to the women who played professional baseball during World War II, because that doesn’t get enough recognition.

IMG_3738Sure, they made a movie about it, but how many people have seen it? I know I haven’t watched it recently, but I still love it. I was actually thinking about it just the other day…But these women, the “Girls of Summer” really started something important, specifically women’s rights. Women did so much during the war because all the men were fighting for this country. I think it’s pretty darn amazing. It also proves, in a way, that anything boys can do, girls can do, too.

Then came the rest of the museum–the best part of the day!

IMG_3730Can you say family portrait? I would have loved to be a part of the Reagan clan! That little boy is one of a set of twins we were at the museum with. They are evil sometimes, but I love them. And credits to my littler sister Haley for taking all the pictures that I am in.

IMG_3741Ronald Reagan was such a babe, huh? Like, he is really cute, and I would totally date him if I was alive back then. Major props to Nancy for snagging him. Maybe I only think this because I am into older men, but he was definitely extremely good-looking. No wonder he got into the acting business!

IMG_3743Reagan was all about sand and sunsets, which is why when he became president and it was time to redecorate the Oval Office, this was the color scheme he went with. The furniture, desk, and paintings are replicas, but all the photos scattered on tables are completely authentic.

Two things that stuck out to me in this model of the office was a painting of George Washington and one of Andrew Jackson. The portrait of Washington is one of twelve the president can choose from to hang over the fireplace. Reagan picked one of the nation’s first president clad in a soldier’s uniform, about to address the British Army. I thought that was pretty cool because of the history behind America and England’s relationship. When Washington was alive, the countries probably weren’t on the best of terms for a while. The other painting of Andrew Jackson, was chosen because Jackson had grown up a poor boy. All the presidents before him had been artisocrats. Like him, Reagan had grown up fairly poor with a father that had a bad drinking problem. I didn’t know this about our 40th president–or the 7th–so I found it rather interesting. Sorry you can’t see either painting in this picture; I couldn’t get a good angle and I was behind a lamp.

One of the reasons I love Ronald Reagan is because he was such a people person, and I think his work in the media helped with that. The docent in the Oval Office room told us that he really loved people and wanted to make a difference. Reagan had been a lifeguard in his youth and had saved 76 people from drowning in the Rock River! 76 people. That is pretty darn amazing, if you ask me. Knowing that, I would be completely ready to put my life in his hands.

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Outside of the Oval Office replica, there are a few large posters of Reagan in the White House, and this was one of them. The reason I liked this picture so much was because it reminded me of, well, me. His facial expression, his pose, it was all things that I would do. I think that if we knew each other, old Ronnie and I could be friends. Man, how I wish I was alive during his presidency!

The next part of the museum is the Air Force Platform: all things travel!

IMG_3745Yes, that is the actual Air Force One plane Reagan used during his presidency! The best part? We got to go inside it. While we did not buy the pictures taken on the steps or allowed to take photos inside the plane, it was pretty cool. How awesome would it be to have your own plane? I told my dad he should run for president, just for this reason. He laughed at me. A girl can dream right?

IMG_3750I may not have been able to capture snapshots inside the aircraft, I did get this cool one from outside it. Again, thanks, Haley!

We also got to go inside Marine One, which is the helicopter version of AF1. It was much smaller, but still pretty cool. The seats looked really comfortable; however, we weren’t allowed to sit in them.

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My mom took this picture, not Haley. Thanks, mom!

One this floor, there was a huge wall dedicated to the secret service, which I have always found fascinating. There was a timeline showing how it was created and the ways in which it evolved, pointing out the specific day in which there was an assassination attempt on Reagan. There was also a small room for that, but I didn’t take any pictures in there. It was pretty awesome though. Even in the hospital, Reagan found a way to laugh and tell jokes during his recovery.

Ronald Reagan also loved jelly beans. They helped him quit smoking, which if you think about it, is kind of weird, but everyone has their own way of doing things.

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Because of this quirk, there are jelly beans everywhere throughout the museum. There is even this portrait of him made completely out of the little candy! It is very impressive, the things you can do with a little creativity.

There was also a small exhibit that centered around Camp David, the president’s private vacation home in Virginia. Did you know, it is so hidden that not even the people that live in the city where it is located know where it is? How crazy is that? One day, I am going to find it. I mean, I won’t get close enough because there is probably major security, so I couldn’t get anywhere near the estate, but when I find the security–which will probably be disguised as park rangers or something because it is in the mountains–I know I will have found its location, at least close. I know, I have weird dreams.

IMG_3756Ahhhh! Help, my horse lost its legs!!! Just kidding, I wouldn’t be smiling if that happened. It’s still cute though. That blue sweatshirt and khakis on the far left is a picture of Reagan riding his horse at Camp David. I wish I’d told Haley to include him in the frame. Oh, well, too late now.

The gardens at the museum are quite beautiful, and the view from the hillside is gorgeous! I got two panoramics of the sights.

IMG_3739 IMG_3760I am in love! I mean, who can say no to a view like this? Whoever picked the location of this museum definitely knew what they were talking about. It is beyond beautiful, and I just wanted to lay out and bask in the sun, despite how hot the day was. It was that nice.

Right next to the garden is a piece of the Berlin Wall, graffiti and everything. You can touch it and take pictures with it. Standing next to it is probably as close as I will ever get to Germany. One day maybe.

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There was also a part of the museum about the issues with Germany and the Berlin Wall. You can crawl through a small tunnel in a facade of the wall; I almost didn’t do it because it made me a little claustrophobic, but my grandpa and my mom told me I should do it anyway. The carpet was thin, so the crawling hurt my knees, but it was still cool.

Ronald Reagan is also buried at the museum, which I think is pretty awesome. You can walk right up to is grave! There is a quote engraved on the wall and a golden fence around it, but it is right there for everyone to see. I wanted to take a selfie with it and caption it “Selfie with my fav prez” with some cool emojis, but a woman was standing there, and she would’ve thought I was weird or offered to take the picture for me. So I asked her to do the honors.

IMG_3762Still pretty cute if you ask me!

I really do love Ronald Reagan, and I’m not kidding when I say my nine year-old self sat and watched his funeral on TV–well, eight year-old self because my birthday was two months after his death. I think he was a phenomenal president, and I’m not the only one! In the 1984 election, only one state voted democratic–darn Minnesota! How much more of a landslide can you get?

Reagan is truly inspiring, and one day, I hope to do great things like him. Maybe not become president, because I would probably be terrible at that, but I wouldn’t say no to being the First Lady! That woman can be pretty iconic, too. Have I mentioned that I love Nancy? She is utterly adorable.

So thanks for letting me relive my day of history! I hope at least one of you loves this president as much as I do.

Happy Sunday! 🙂 -A

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