On the 100th anniversary of her birth tomorrow, Pat Nixon will be aptly celebrated for her grace and poise, devotion to her husband's peacemaking vision and legacy, enhancement of the White House collections of furniture and art, and many other achievements. History shouldn't underrate her substantive contributions to 37's work as his adviser and occasional critic. She was also a paragon of forbearance, since she didn't like politics.
The Ely, Nevada native had a delightful, down-to-earth sense of humor. When they came to California for a Nixon library event the early 1990s, the Nixons camped at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. His friends and aides were all abuzz because one of his associates had arrived for the event with a woman not his wife. Mrs. Nixon drank in the details, gestured toward the room where Nixon was taking a nap, and said, "If I don't watch out, I might lose the old man in there!" Then she roared with laughter. As if!