My Mother’s Strange Rendezvous with Richard Nixon


In November 1968 my parents, sister and I made our annual Thanksgiving trip to Manhattan to visit my senile-but-favorite grandmother, Bobby. She was withering away in a very small-but-immaculate apartment in an elegant building on Park Avenue. It was the kind of building where a man in a fine wool suit could walk his wife’s miniature poodle through the lobby on the way to a pay phone around the corner, so he could place a call to his mistress. And old ladies in fluffy fur coats carried itsy bitsy black purses with enough room for a lipstick, a hankie and a couple of quarters for “The Help.”

It was always an experience to see Grandma Bobby because I never knew what to expect… sometimes she couldn’t remember what city she was in, or what language to speak (and she spoke a lot of them).  Other times, she would open the…

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