MARCH 11th – and just TWO WEEKS TO GO until our 75th Anniversary

BOB FLICK started us off with the Pledge. The team of DOWNIE and FRIEDMAN led us in song, that being It’s a Grand Old Flag. RALPH SMITH, our Community Service Chair, came forward with the Invocation. Entitled, “I’m Fine”, there were a number of what we could call statements of condition. None were favorable in and of themselves, but each statement ended with “but I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.” The subject is “living on aspirin”, and concludes with the thought that saying “I’m fine” is better than letting them know the shape we are in! Good thoughts, and well received, RALPH.

PDG ANDY ANDERSON came up to report on PP HOWARD SISKEL. After what seemed to be a normal week, when HOWARD awoke Friday morning, he was not well. The paramedics came, took him to UCLA Emergency, and it was learned that he had suffered a stroke. Several of us saw Howard at the hospital a day or two after that, and he really didn’t look well at all. But lo and behold, he is getting better – sitting up today, and tomorrow he will be sitting up in a chair! Howard is in room 565, on the west side of the hospital, and brief visits, or cards, are most welcome. Here is one tough guy, and we should tell him so.

MIKE YOUSEM introduced a Visiting Rotarian, Leandro Carde, who is a Past President of the Lawndale Club. He prepares Income Taxes, and wanted us to be sure to remember that Lawndale has had several District Governors. PP MIKE NEWMAN brought along Julie McClosky, who was a Scholar at USC in their film school in 1993. She is working in the industry, and teaches in the Film Department at Chapman College in O.C. LENORE MULRYAN was with Diana Ross, another Ambassadorial Scholar – and Pres. PETER reminded her that he had been on the selection committee when she was chosen in 1995. Diana has been helpful with the Scholars Committee, and will be a Member this year, helping to choose next year’s winners. RUDY ALVAREZ once again brought Jaime Tatenco, a 10th grader at Fremont High in South Central whom he has been working with for the past THREE years! RUDY has taken Jaime under his wing, helping with homework, and the next hurdle is getting him into college. RUDY, I have to tell you that such one-on-one friendship and support for another person is really rare. You are making a difference in his life, and most of us have never taken on that kind of challenge.. Keep it up, please. RUDY also had another guest, Ken Adler, a semi-retired attorney living in WLA.

Pres. PETER gave a push to our 75th Anniversary Sweatshirts. They come in either maroon or blue, with a lovely logo, and the first one costs $40, the 2nd and 3rd are $30.

Many of us already have ours, and buyers today included BRUCE ROLF, HANK HEUER, GENE PRINDLE, STEW GILMAN and PP STEVE SCHERER. I’ll have more at next week’s meeting, of course – they come in medium, large, extra large and extra extra large, and it is suggested that you get the next size above what you might regularly order, since they can shrink.

The 75th Anniversary is just TWO WEEKS away! Most of you have made reservations, and everyone who hasn’t will be contacted – but we need to know soon, to coordinate the Host/Hostess Dinners on Friday the 26th. Saturday the 27th will really be a special evening - PP RON LYSTER and his Committee have planned entertainment and fun that won’t quit, (and a minor note to those who haven’t yet signed up:) Since every member will be paying for one anyway, attending or not, it makes economic sense to get your money’s worth and SHOW UP. Anytime you choose a date for something, there are a few who can’t make it, for good and sufficient reasons – but missing this one just because you didn’t get around to reserving your space doesn’t make any sense. Please do respond right away – you’ll be in good company, and it will be a Great Evening!

PP MIKE NEWMAN showed some slides and described our involvement in the Bad News Bears Baseball Field, which is located at the corner of Ohio and Sepulveda. Your Board voted for a $500 donation, MIKE added his own $500, and Pres. PETER put in $4000! With this total contribution of Five thousand dollars, the complete lighting system at the Park was installed and is now operating. We have not only a space on the home-run fence, but a large plaque memoralizing our support for this community field.

PP RON LYSTER spoke briefly about the Motorcyclers trip to Death Valley, and showed some pictures taken enroute. In addition to the cycles, Pres. PETER and Shirley flew down, along with BILL EDWARDS in his plane – sounds like a great time was had by all. And we’ll get a report on the Corazon Project soon – stay tuned.

Dr. FLOYD DEWHIRST had a unique relationship with the Richard Nixon family. In the fall of 1961, then-Vice President Nixon needed some emergency dental work. This began a long association, and despite what the press had to say, FLOYD found Mr. Nixon to be quite friendly, easy to talk to, and he considered him to be an excellent patient – he even paid his bills on time! He met the rest of the family when Patricia, then 15, and Julie, two years younger, came in as patients. Turned out that FLOYD and Mrs Nixon had gone to the same high school, which gave them things to reminisce over. He found Patricia to be quiet, while Julie was bouncy and lighted up the whole office when she was there. The family was referred to Floyd by Virginia Counts, wife of our CURT COUNTS, so it really does seem to be a small world after all. He again was in touch with Richard Nixon in 1972, and the Watergate breakin was much in the news. The press was trying to reach FLOYD for comments, but fortunately, he was fishing in Canada at the time. FLOYD, thanks for your comments, and today was the ideal time for us to hear the story.

Here’s a quick heads-up on the next Auxiliary meeting. They will be touring the Los Angeles Courthouse on Tuesday, April 13th. The morning tour will last two hours, and the group will talk to at least a couple of judges. There will be a buffet lunch afterward, costing $10. Since the group is limited to 25 total, it will be first come, first served. If you wish to go, send your lunch check for $10 to Marge Downie.

SALLY BRANT introduced our Speaker, John Taylor. Mr. Taylor started to work for Richard Nixon in 1984, and in 1990, after visiting 13 countries with the former President, he became Executive Director of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation.

Over the last five years, he was also able to complete work on his Episcopal degree, and was just ordained this past January. He and his wife, Kathy O’Connor, have two daughters and he has two great step-children.

John began by revealing that our own FLOYD DEWHIRST helped plan Watergate. His fishing story was part of that whole scene, apparently…But, moving right along, John then pointed out that Richard Nixon’s reputation is in a complete state of flux. Centered around the Vietnam War, in which 60,000 Americans died and three million served, there were also three million Vietnamese dead. This War is the major issue clouding his Presidency, even though it had been going on for years before he became President.

Historians today expect a new perspective on Nixon, but it will be at least fifty years before he can be fairly judged, apparently.

Nixon was known for his anti-Communist views when he became Vice President Before that, he served on the House UnAmerican Committee, and Alger Hiss was his main target. He continued to believe that Hiss was guilty, and most scholars today agree. He was sworn in as President in 1969, and at that time there were 540,000 Americans serving in Vietnam. Thus we were fully there already – his job was to find a way out.

He felt we could not desert our allies, and those we had promised to stand with. His plan was to turn the fighting over to the South Vietnamese, and we would continue to be their supply base. In the 1973 – 1975 period, sometimes called the Black Hole of History, he restarted the air campaign – and unknown to us, we came within inches, so to speak, of causing the North to withdraw. As an example of the difference between Vietnam and Iraq, our total casualties after almost a year in Iraq would equal two weeks of losses in Vietnam.

His closing remarks pointed out that the U.S. faces a major difference of opinion on foreign policy between President Bush and Senator Kerry, assuming he is the Democratic nominee. The two competing forces are peace and freedom, and one impinges on the other invarying degrees. This led to a brief Q&A.

LEE DUNAYER – What was Kissinger’s role. He was a realist, but believed in the Wilsonian concept of world government. He favored a balance of power concept, and Nixon agreed with most of his ideas. They had a good relationship. RAY ZICKFELD, Did he redeem himself. This is where the fifty years of history will have to intervene to provide a fair answer. He felt his major value was to offer advice and assistance to the Presidents who followed, both Republican and Democrat. And a final YOE comment – this was a great report, and he only had time for two questions, which gives some idea of the breath of his replies. Please come back again, John Taylor.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe