Monday, July 4, 2011

I Like Ike

"Going Home To Glory - A Memoir of Life with Dwight David Eisenhower: 1961 - 1969" by David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower Simon and Schuster 336 pages $10.12 at

Author David is Ike's grandson and he spent many of his youthful summers on their farm in Gettysburg, PA. He weeded the garden, tended the horses and painted the fences.

I looked Ike up and was stunned to read that he was born in 1890! His presidency from 1953 to 1961 made him a contemporary, sort of, as I was 13 in 1953. "1890" just sounds so ... really last century, totally unconnected. He died, aged 78, at Walter Reed hospital ending a long stay there in 1969.

Mamie was born in 1896. When they married he was 25 and she was only 19. She lasted another 10 years after he died, dying aged 87 in 1979.

They enjoyed a quiet life post-Presidency, summering at their Gettysburg farm, wintering on the Eldorado golf club grounds in Indian Wells, CA. Ike's two best friends there were Freeman Gosden and Fred Allen. Ike and Mamie were frequent guests at the Annenburg estate, Sunnylands. It seems that all they ever did was play golf and bridge! It doesn't get much quieter than that... You can tour this house by typing "Eisenhower Eldorado home" on Google. The place was huge!

Dinners were formal, coats and ties for the men, unless they were alone. Their preference was to use TV trays in front of the television. Ike loved gadgets and he drove everyone crazy switching channels when he was given a remote control for the TV.

Ike's famous cooking was basically his loyal Sgt. Moaney doing all of the prep work while Ike then poked stuff with a fork or ladle for the cameras.

He and Nixon were always close, but he and Kennedy, while cordial and respectful of each other, didn't like each other at all. He and Truman got along fine until Eisenhower fled the Dems and joined the GOP. That tore it with Harry.

Triva: Actress Joan Olander signed with Universal Studios on the day Ike took office. Studio heads promptly re-christened her "Mamie Van Doran" in homage.

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