ONCE AGAIN I shall return to Governor Reagan’s residence at 1669 San Onofre Drive in Pacific Palisades, California back in the early 1970’s when I was a State Police Officer assigned to protect his residence.
You all will recall the “kiosk of comfort” that was situated adjacent to the long, steep driveway leading up the hill to the residence. This was sometime after it had been the “kiosk of death and destruction”. (Please refer to my earlier article, “Protecting the Governor”, for the gory details so ya’ll will know the heck of what I am talking about.)
The governor’s residence was a ranch-style home with three bedrooms and a backyard pool. It had been built for the governor, before he was governor, by the General Electric Company who sponsored “Death Valley Days” when actor Ronald Reagan took over as the host after the original “Old Ranger” host had died. I guess the “Old Ranger” kind of lived up to the title of the show, don’t you think?
Anyway, I digress; okay, back to my story… when I finally had the pleasure of being assigned to the “kiosk of comfort”. My duties were to stop all vehicles (police jargon for cars); check all of the occupants (even if I knew them from previous stops); and sign them in on a clip board. This was by no means “rocket science”, but it did give me a chance to personally meet and greet all the dignitaries who began to frequent the governor’s residence when he was probably involved in his long-range plans to run for POTUS. (I kind of thought this acronym would impress all of you with the Secret Service – designation for the President of the United States – but you all probably figured it out before I wasted my time writing out these lines!)
Once again I was working the evening shift (1800 to 0600 hours) and the Governor, along with his son Ronny Jr., was home. I had no idea where Nancy was…possibly contacting her astrologer to find out about her dead flower garden? (Please refer to one of my previous articles, “The Care and Watering of Nancy’s Garden” for details).
It was well after midnight when I heard the growl of Ronny Jr.’s candy-apple red Ford Mustang climbing up the narrow streets of the Palisades. Ronny Jr. was about 16 or so at the time and I do believe that he had a curfew of 2200 hours. (That’s 10:00 p.m. civilian time)
I saw the on-coming headlights of the Mustang and, based on how quickly they grew larger and larger, I estimated that Ronny Jr. had no intention of stopping at my “Kiosk of Comfort”. He was driving way too fast for my own personal “comfort” and I definitely had no desire of being launched off the driveway into the chaparral or having the silver Mustang hood ornament provide me with a 25 to 35 mph proctology examination!
Ronny Jr. flew by me and on up the driveway where he did a pretty good power turn in the pea gravel in the front parking area adjacent to the entrance of the home.
I ran up the driveway and saw the interior living room light come on and the Governor (wearing his very classy blue bathroom) emerge from the entrance. At this time, Ronny Jr. got out of his Mustang and slammed the door pretty hard. I then heard a brief, but not polite, discussion between the Governor and his junior. This culminated in Ronny Jr. exclaiming in a pretty loud voice for the Governor to do something to himself that he (the Governor) would find physically impossible to do . . . “Go &^%# yourself” I recall were the words spoken.
Immediately, the Governor grabbed Ronnie Jr. by the scruff of his scrawny neck and threw him forward through the open (luckily) front entrance door. I ran up to the Governor who signaled a “thumbs-up” and told me that everything was alright as he went into his home, calmly closing the front door with grace.
I stood by outside awhile and heard the muffled sounds of a verbal argument followed by a single sound of a slap or a clap and then complete silence. The living room light went off and I returned to my “kiosk of comfort” for the remainder of my shift.
Before I got off duty later on that morning, I saw the Governor outside his home doing some chores. His hair was in place and he was whistling a happy tune. Later on, I saw Ronny Jr. sporting an award winning “shiner” (common slang for a black eye).
On my next assigned days off, I switched my political affiliation from the “Peace and Freedom” Party to the “Republican” Party. God Bless the late and great President (and former California Governor) Ronald Reagan!
That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Until next time kind folks, be alert, be safe, people love you!