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February 09, 1984
Well it was a happy birthday & also a busy one. We flew to Rockford Ill. where we were met by Congresswoman Lynn Martin & Gov. Jim Thompson. Then by helicopter to Dixon where brother Moon met us & we drove to the old house on Hennipen Avenue. It was quite an experience. They’ve fixed the house up very nicely & furnished it reasonably close to what we’d had in 1920. The big surprise was how much smaller the rooms seemed compared to our memories. The 3 of us had lunch in the old dining room & a birthday cake had been provided. After lunch our motorcade went down town to the parade reviewing stand—8° below zero. After the parade went to the high school gym where I spoke to about 3000 Dixonians. It was a truly nostalgic & heartwarming day. Then we helicoptered to Eureka—landing right by the college fieldhouse. Mr. Grunwald of “Time mag.” introduced me to another audience of old friends as 1st in a series of lectures sponsored by “Time.” Before the afternoon was over I was on my way to Las Vegas. Nancy parted from me in Peoria to go see her mother in Phoenix. Another cake at the hotel in Las Vegas—then the next morning I addressed the nat. convention of Hi School principals. I was surprised at the ovation I received when I called for prayer in school. Another cake this time in the image of a school house. A fund raising lunch for Repubs.—biggest Repub. fund raiser for Repub. Party in Nevada history. Finally on my way to Calif. & the ranch. It was beautiful weather when I arrived.—A couple of hours later Nancy arrived. We had 4 full days Wed. thru Sat.—rode every morning, Barney & Dennis & I got some wood cut in the afternoons. But Nancy is right—Presidents dont have vacations—they just have a change of scenery. There were conference phone calls on the Beirut situation. We are moving our Marines out to the ships. The media as usual is distorting the situation. There really was more homework than on any trip I can remember. Now on Sunday—Nancy left for Seattle & St. Louis re the drug program. I’m back in the W.H. wishing to h--l I was back in Calif.