Apr 242014

While browsing through the super high res and awesome National Archive photos online I found this one from Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Ball:


I thought it was weird because who are any of these people, and how are there so many of them? Also is that Girl-Reagan wearing the Beetlejuice dress in the corner one of Reagan’s daughters? Who the heck is that Girl-Reagan?


It turns out it’s Dora Palmieri, Ron Reagan’s wife. But back then she was just his “live-in girlfriend,” according to a People magazine profile on “The Reagan Kids.” She and Ron met at ballet school. Unbelievably, the article included this, about him going to ballet school:

He underwrote Ron’s living expenses while he studied ballet on scholarship, first in Los Angeles, currently in New York. “He’s all man—we made sure of that,” his father told a reporter who raised the predictable question two years ago.

I was she had been Girl-Reagan, though. It would have been cool. The writers of 1980s comic books back then would have liked having her, too. They could have done some series in the near future and had her be President Girl-Reagan, outlawing those damned dangerous mutants! “I have only one thing to say to Professor Xavier: Go ahead, make my day.”

But I couldn’t find anything about almost any of the other people in that Inaugural Ball photo, so I went with Maisie to the Reagan Library. Somehow I had been under the impression that Presidential Libraries were huge public archives and places of study. This one was really just a museum plus a restaurant called Ronny’s Country Cafe. One cool thing was in the Nancy Reagan wing, where you got to watch her playing basketball with the Globetrotters for some part of “Just Say No!” She jumps on a little trampoline and dunks the ball and one of the Globetrotters catches her in his arms as she falls. Reagan himself was only 5’7″, so Nancy was almost not even 5 feet and had a long way to fall.

There are also some chunks of the Berlin Wall (real, I think?). On the bottom of one section there’s a hole, and it led to some crawly-aroundy area for kids. I don’t know what was in it but somehow kids instinctively knew to go inside it. They’d be walking towards it fullspeed and then duck down into a crawl at the last second. I saw this happen many times.  Some would even showboat, like this kid doing a kid dip, backwards:


Caught ya dippin, you darned kid!

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