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Going Home to Glory

Dec 09, 2011 09:02PM ● By Anonymous

On the evening of July 13th, David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower visited the Avalon Theatre in Easton to show their support for the Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers. In a fundraiser for the organization, the daughter of President Nixon and the grandson of President Eisenhower offered an insider’s look at the 34th U.S. president by presenting their new book Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower 1961-1969.

The evening kicked off with a VIP reception at Scossa Restaurant and Lounge. There, patrons of education and literacy enjoyed the restaurants signature cocktails and tempting fare. And, if they could make their way through the throngs, were rewarded with the chance to meet the evening’s guest speakers.

After much hand-shaking, book-signing, and flash-bulb-enduring, Mr. Eisenhower and Ms. Nixon Eisenhower slipped out of Scossa's door and into the Avalon's. Those eager to hear them speak followed.

On the Avalon's wooden stage, a member of CACC’s Board of Directors gave her brief introduction. Ms. Nixon Eisenhower took her place at the podium, and told the audience about the first time she met her husband.

A pair of eight-year-olds, the two were gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the inauguration of President Eisenhower. But apart from David’s lavishly admiring Julie’s sledding accident-induced black eye, and Julie’s noticing David’s cuteness, they kept to themselves. It wasn’t until college when “Mamie Eisenhower played matchmaker” that they really hit it off.

But, Ms. Eisenhower didn’t stay on the topic of her relationship for long.

“The view from inside the White House is so different from what you see on the outside," she said. "Presidents are so complex.” They’re driven individuals, and believe that they are the only ones who can do the job.

Going Home to Glory isn’t just the history of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s life. It’s also a great story about a grandfather-grandson relationship, and takes a close look at presidential power. The book makes much of January 20th, 1961, when Eisenhower gracefully stepped down from the presidency as the first commander-in-chief affected by the 22nd Amendment.

“It’s pretty clear from the research,” Ms. Eisenhower said, “that [had the amendment not been ratified] he would have sought another term.”

After a round of applause for his wife, Mr. Eisenhower made his way to the podium. He too touched on the subject of the 22nd Amendment.

It “imposes limits on charismatic people, who, in other countries, would stay in power longer,” he said. “We not only require these individuals to step down, we require them to like it.”

And that, he said, is what makes it a great part of the American political system. “It may seem strange that our nation has built a disruption of continuity, but it carries forth the principle that ideas America stands for are larger than individuals or organizations.”

But, just as he did in Going Home to Glory, Mr. Eisenhower couldn't let the evening go by without an anecdote. Or two. He broke from his discussion of politics to tell the story of his firing at the hands of his grandfather.

During his childhood, Mr. Eisenhower spent a summer working on the family farm in Gettysburg (take note if you ever visit—he painted those fences five times). On one fateful lunch break, he and his friends overestimated President Eisenhower’s appetite. Ike came home early, and caught them playing cards.

David, who can’t attest to his grandfather's temper because when he saw his mouth moving, he didn’t hear words come out, quickly went home. Later on, he was shocked to see President Eisenhower showed up at their house for their regularly scheduled golf match. They went, but played the first three holes in silence.

Finally, Ike turned to David.  “I allow my associates one mistake in a year," he told him. "And you’ve had yours.”

By the fourth hole, David was re-hired.

After a brief Q&A session, David and Julie wrapped up their evening by thanking CACC for having them. Education, they stressed, is one of the most important services a community can provide. Judging by the applause they received, it’s safe to say that the audience agreed.

To find out more about the Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers, visit their website. Copies of Going Home to Glory are available for purchase on Amazon.

– Karly Kolaja