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President Richard Nixon love letters to wife Pat released

March 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
We are getting a window into the softer side of our 37th president, Richard Nixon. Six love letters between Nixon and his wife Pat are now on display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. They're part of an exhibit celebrating what would have been Pat Nixon's 100th birthday.

Decades before he became known to some as "Tricky Dick" and was taken down from Watergate, the letters date from when the two first met, until just before their marriage in 1940. In them, the former president recalls their first meeting, daydreams about their future and uses nicknames like "dearest heart" and "my Irish gypsy."

"Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy," he writes in one undated letter. "Let's go for a long ride Sunday; let's go to the mountains weekends; let's read books in front of fires; most of all, let's really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours."

The letters stand in stark contrast to the grim-faced leader forced to resign in 1974, disgraced. The two met while auditioning for "The Dark Tower" in Whittier and dated for two years until Nixon proposed on the south Orange County cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He later delivered her engagement ring in a small basket overflowing with mayflowers. They were married in a small ceremony on June 21, 1940.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.