August 8, 1974 is a red-letter day in Orange County politics. On that night, and I remember it well, President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace for his abuse of power in the Watergate scandal and its coverup.
I was 13 and watched the NBC Nightly News as they outlined “this historic night.” We cheered Nixon’s announcement.
My grandfather worked the 3:30 p.m. shift at my hometown’s Copper Mill and he read the New York Daily News every day. He brought home a copy of the paper on August 9; its headline is two words in the largest type/font size I have ever seen: NIXON QUITS! He told me to keep the paper because it might be worth something someday. It’s in a frame, hanging in my office, yellowed with age and the smell of old basement, but that issue of the New York Daily News is a priceless gift in more ways than one.
When I moved to Orange County, I called my Dad to tell him how close the Nixon Library was. And in his own Blue collar humor, asked how much the good folks at the Nixon Library charged to allow patrons to relieve themselves on the president’s gravesite. No love lost there at all.
I will visit the Nixon Library someday just to see how revisionist history is practiced. And with an empty bladder.