Monday, February 7, 2011

Reagan Not Fond of His First Name

President Reagan was one of my favorites. Yesterday was his 100th birthday. Ten years ago I bought and read his memoirs, An American Life, an enjoyable read. Here's what he said about his birth:

"I was born February 6, 1911, in a flat above the local bank in Tampico, Illinois. According to family legend, when my father ran up the stairs and looked at his newborn son, he quipped: 'He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.'

"During my mother's pregnancy, my parents had decided to call me Donald. But after one of her sisters beat her to it and named her son Donald, I became Ronald.

"I never though 'Ronald' was rugged enough for a young red-blooded American boy and as soon as I could, I asked people to call me 'Dutch.' That was a nickname that grew out of my father's calling me 'the Dutchman' whenever he referred to me."