Friday, December 14, 2012

Inspired by Jackie Kennedy...

By Mary Claire Kendall

From the start of working to save Ronald Reagan's childhood home in Chicago*, two weeks ago today, i.e., Friday, November 30, I've drawn inspiration from Jackie Kennedy, who saved Lafayette Square and Jackson Place, going up against the most powerful of all interests, and catalyzing the artful blending of the old and the new.  A whole new way of looking at development.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
Gary Walker, owner of Salon ILO in Georgetown, reminded me today that Jackie also saved Grand Central Station and that it was her salvation. In 1975 when it was threatened with being demolished, she was suffering from severe depression and it cured her because it gave her a cause. 

In front of the building at 832 E. 57th Street, in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, 
where Ronald Reagan lived with his family when he was four, from which he dated
his first memories. President Obama's home is a few blocks away. 

She is truly an inspiration for me, because saving Reagan's childhood in Chicago won't be easy, but we'll prevail, I feel confident. I have an amazing team backing me up, including Peter Hannaford, who knew Ronald Reagan as well as anyone, having worked for him both when he was Governor of California and President of the United States. Peter wrote a great piece in The American Spectator earlier this week on this effort, titled "Historic Home or Grassy Strip?"  And, many others are helping, including the team at Shirley Banister... each playing a critical role... providing information,  intervention, outreach... and great heart for a man and leader who reminded Americans of our heritage of freedom and opportunity and forged paths for its renewal... 

His own path began in Illinois, and Chicago during a formative year that made all the difference in his life... and ours... 

Those interested in supporting this cause may send contributions to:

Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home*
P.O. Box 3772
Washington, DC 20027-3772

Please note, if we do not succeed in our quest, unless otherwise specified by donor, first net $32,000 will go toward the statue of "Dutch" Reagan as a child playing on a Civil War cannon in Tampico's town park, to be displayed in the same park in Tampico, where he was born, after which contributions will be divided equally among President Reagan's other Illinois residences.  

If we do succeed, I will still encourage the board to make a donation to the Tampico Birthplace to help pay for the sculpture and, each year thereafter, to make a donation divided equally among all the Reagan Illinois homes.

* My op-ed, "Hyde Park Showdown over Reagan's childhood home," published in Washington Examiner on December 9, was called "an eloquent requiem" by prominent Chicago preservationist Lynn Becker, who shares my sentiments.

*When writing check, it's easier if you abbreviate to: Friends of Pres. Reagan's Chicago Home.

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About Me

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I am a writer and producer. My book, "Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends," was published in 2015 in the United States and in Spain in 2016 under the title "TambiƩn Dios pasa por Hollywood." Also, see me on Twitter @maryclairerose and Linked In.