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  1. Life & Times
  2. The Millionaire Lifeguard: A Proven Financial Plan For Debt Free Living
  3. Life & Times | The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute
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One just is not enough. We have read every word of our work, but we have still missed things until Pitch Wars. Pitch Wars has brought out the best voice of our characters. Wish me luck, friends. This is no easy task. It is a toil. It is enlightening. It is draining. It is worth it. I won a jalapeno eating contest while pregnant by devouring 21 whole raw jalapenos.

The baby is now 22 years old and hates spicy food. Growing up with gear heads disguised as human brothers, I was forced into racing motorcycles and drag cars. I have a lifelong love of anything on two wheels and sometimes four. I am a secret kitchen ninja and have won large online recipe contests. The recipe for the grilled cheese sandwich is yummy and full of awesome delishousness that your doctor warns you about. Pitch Wars has made me bake more than I ever have.

For inspiration, I bake a cobbler or cookies or whatever. My husband is happy about that! I'm a sucker for all the Real Housewives shows. I don't care. I think they are hysterical! She met and fell in love with Jack Reagan in a tiny farm town on the Illinois prairie. They were married in Fulton, Illinois in Nelle taught Ronald Reagan the value of prayer, and how to have dreams and believe they could come true.

Life & Times

Nelle faithfully attended Sunday services at the Disciples of Christ Church throughout her life and was involved there in Bible readings and prayer meetings. Aside from her church work, she also acted in many plays. She had a drive within her not to make something of herself, but to help her sons make something of themselves. Nelle Reagan had several brothers and sisters who all lived in or near the mid-west.

They often visited each other and would assist each other in times of difficulty. Nelle saw the best in people and would help others in need — whether they were family, neighbors, or prisoners at the local jail. Neil was not happy with the arrival of his brother, Ronald, since he had wanted a sister. For several days after his birth, Neil would not go in to see his new little brother.

As they grew though, they got into typical boyhood trouble, sharing the experiences of brotherhood. They lived in the city near the University of Chicago and young Ronald witnessed urban life firsthand — the gaslit sidewalks, streets alive with people, carriages, trolleys, and the occasional automobile. He would watch the horse-drawn fire engines race by and determined that he would like to become a fireman.

Less than two years later, Jack was offered a job in Galesburg, miles west of Chicago. The Reagans left the bustling city and moved to a quiet, small town of meadows and caves, trees and streams. The home they rented in Galesburg had a huge collection of bird eggs and butterflies left behind by the previous occupant.

Ronald Reagan became captivated by their beauty and intricacy and would spend hours studying them and marveling at their complexity. Though he was only 5, in Galesburg he also taught himself to read. By first grade Ronald Reagan discovered he had a very good memory and could pick up something to read and memorize it easily. World War I began while the Reagans lived in Galesburg, so the young Reagan would go down to the railroad station and watch the troop trains come in and depart. At the conclusion of first grade, the Reagan family moved again — this time to Monmouth, Illinois.

He also realized that some of the troops he saw depart, had died on European soil and would not be returning to celebrate.

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Not long after the end of the war, the Reagans moved again — this time back to Tampico, Illinois where Ronald Reagan had been born and where Jack returned to his old job. Finally, young Ronald Reagan and his family could put down some roots. Moving so often during his formative years was difficult for young Ronald Reagan.

He became a bit introverted and was shy about making deep friendships. He would read, draw, and explore his surroundings, but had a reluctance to get too close to people that he might have to say good-bye too soon. In Dixon that all changed as he finally felt established in the community and at home with his surroundings. The Dixon years were times of growth and change for Ronald Reagan.

It was here in Dixon that Ronald Reagan really discovered himself and his small-town world began to expand. It had a busy main street lined with shops, several churches, an elementary and a high school, a public library, a post office, a wire screen factory, a shoe factory and a cement plant. The outskirts of town were dotted with dairy farms that went on as far as you could see. Dixon was what Ronald Reagan considered his hometown.

The Reagan family was poor by most standards, but young Ronald Reagan never felt disadvantaged growing up because there was always someone worse off than they were and he always had food to eat and clothes to wear. Dutch Reagan spent his early years in Dixon reading about birds and wildlife, swimming in the Rock River, exploring the local valley and wilderness and drawing cartoons and caricatures.

Although he had lots of playmates, he was a bit introverted and preferred to enjoy his first few years in Dixon engaged in more solitary activities. Many holidays or family gatherings were ruined by Jack, causing Ronald Reagan great embarrassment and frustration. It was in Dixon that Ronald Reagan observed the love and common sense of purpose that unites families and communities and recognized it as one of the most powerful forces on earth.

He realized that America, above all places, gives us the freedom to reach out and make those dreams reality. For Ronald Reagan, his dreams all began in Dixon. He was passionate about his faith and involved himself in church activities with his mother. He even convinced his brother, Neil, to be baptized on the same day. She loved performing, as did Neil.

His mother and brother persisted and finally Ronald Reagan gained enough confidence to try acting and made his theatrical debut on a small stage for the first time in Dixon. It took all the courage he could summon up, but the response from the audience was life-changing. For a kid suffering the pangs of childhood insecurity, the response from the audience was life-changing. He yelled when he realized all he could see while wearing them. The trees suddenly had leaves and branches, billboards had words on them, and the fields were full of cows.

A visit to the eye doctor diagnosed severe nearsightedness. Ronald Reagan was fitted for a large, thick pair of black-rimmed glasses and his world opened up for him — especially the world of sports. He had never been able to hit a baseball, had always been picked last for teams, but that all changed for the young Reagan when he got his glasses. Suddenly he was a star athlete, could see the blackboard from the back of the classroom and gained new-found confidence in his abilities.

They gave him a new-found belief in himself and grounded him in a new direction which would open doors of opportunity for him in his high school years and beyond. Life in Dixon was helping shape young Reagan into the man he would later become. He determined that next year he would be ready to play and decided over the summer to make sure he was bigger and stronger for football in the fall. He learned to lay floors, shingle roofs, and work with concrete.

Not only did he earn money for his future, but built up his muscles for football. Since the Reagans had just moved to the north side of town, young Ronald Reagan attended the north campus, while Neil decided to remain with his friends at the south campus. The river that ran between their two schools divided the Reagan boys both figuratively and literally as Neil was drawn to a tougher crowd that would fight and frequent a local pool hall while Ronald Reagan began to pursue his studies more seriously, and took elocution lessons from his mother.

The Reagan boys began to go their separate ways, even though they shared a small enclosed porch for a bedroom. In the fall of , Ronald Reagan, a sophomore, was proudly named captain of the football team — in a newly-established division for players under pounds. He loved football as much as he had dreamed and went on to play varsity football his junior and senior years. He also was the captain of the swim team and involved himself in writing and acting as president of the Dramatic Club.

Around the time Ronald Reagan started high school, his church hired a new minister who had three very proper daughters. Margaret reminded him of his mother — she was short, pretty, had auburn hair and was very intelligent. Ronald Reagan and Margaret were involved in dramatics and leadership at Dixon High School together, and although they kept their relationship at a friendship level until their senior year, by graduation they were very much in love and began to dream of a life together.

When an opening for lifeguard came up, Ronald Reagan went to the YMCA to take a lifesaving course and was then hired for the position. From Memorial Day to Labor Day he worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week keeping swimmers safe. Lowell Park was a acre forested sanctuary three miles north of town which had been donated to the city of Dixon by the family of the poet James Russell Lowell. In the park was a posh hotel called The Lodge where wealthy mid-west families would often come to spend their summers. Ronald Reagan loved his job as lifeguard — he enjoyed helping people, working outdoors, and swimming.

He always considered himself blessed to have had such steady work every summer and an opportunity to earn money for his future, even through the midst of the Great Depression. Young Reagan made some friends who also like to ride and when there was a free afternoon, they would often go to a local stable and rent horses for an hour or so. Little did he know then that horses would become such an important part of his life and that they would be his constant reminder of those wonderful, simple days in Lowell Park on the Rock River in Dixon.

He dreamed of going there, but knew that financially his parents would not be able to help so he would have to work it out on his own. Although he wanted to play football for four more years and get an education, another attraction at Eureka was Margaret Cleaver. She was following her sisters there, so everything seemed to be lining up perfectly, except financially. When Ronald Reagan drove Margaret to Eureka College in September of , the campus was even lovelier than he had imagined.

Five Georgian-style brick buildings were arranged in a semi-circle with white framed windows and ivy-covered walls. There were acres of rolling green lawn and lush trees and foliage. He knew he had to find a way to stay.

So as Margaret was registering for classes, young Reagan tried to impress the president, Bert Wilson, and football coach, Mac McKinzie, with his credentials as someone who would be a great addition to their football and swim teams and would provide leadership to their student body. They agreed to give him a Needy Student Scholarship to cover half of his tuition and promised a job that would cover his meals.

The Millionaire Lifeguard: A Proven Financial Plan For Debt Free Living

The balance of his tuition and living expenses would have to come from his savings account. Although money ran out for Ronald Reagan the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, the football coach, Mac McKinzie went to bat for him and within a few hours was able to renew the Needy Student Scholarship. Ronald Reagan was not only able to finish his second year, but went on to graduate from Eureka College in Ronald Reagan officially majored in Economics at Eureka College, but unofficially minored in extra-curricular activities.

Along with playing football, he pledged the TKE Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, was the captain and coach of the swim team, ran track, was a basketball cheerleader, president of the Eureka Boosters Club, yearbook feature editor, student senate and eventually was elected Student Body President. His first giant step of leadership came during his freshman year when he represented his peers in a proposed strike against unfair faculty layoffs and other budget cuts.

His rousing speech was a call to action for the students and led to a strike which forced the president to resign and normalcy returned to Eureka College thanks in part to the leadership of young Ronald Reagan. For Ronald Reagan, Eureka College was literally that — a place of discovery that fulfilled and exceeded his dreams for college. The opportunities and experiences he had at Eureka College prepared him for the rest of his adult life more than he could have imagined. In , as Ronald Reagan was graduating from Eureka College, he was filled with uncertainty over what he should do with the rest of his life.

Not only did Eureka place second in this prestigious contest, but Ronald Reagan was selected as one of three performers to receive an individual acting award. His dream was born, but in those days in Dixon, acting in Hollywood seemed as remote and impossible as a trip to the moon. Since radio was beginning to gain in popularity, Ronald Reagan decided that broadcasting would make a promising career for him, ideally sports announcing in Chicago.

So after graduation he hitch-hiked his way to Chicago and began knocking on radio station doors looking for a job — any job — in broadcasting. But during the Great Depression jobs were few and far between — especially for those like young Reagan, who had no pertinent work experience. Nothing in radio was available for him anywhere. Reagan hitch-hiked back to Dixon and applied for a job managing the sporting goods department at the new Montgomery Wards in Dixon. When the job was given to someone else, young Reagan was truly disheartened and defeated.

She encouraged her son to just move on, keep trying, and things would work out for the best. Mother was right — and the disappointment of not getting the job at Montgomery Wards forced Ronald Reagan to leave Dixon in search of his dreams elsewhere. This defeat was the best thing that could have happened to him and though it led him far from Dixon, it also led him closer to fulfilling his destiny. In , after being passed over for a job managing the sporting good department at Montgomery Wards in Dixon, Ronald Reagan borrowed the family car with hopes of finding a job in radio.

He knew of several small stations outside of Chicago, so went to the tri-cities areas of Davenport, Moline and Rock Island along the Mississippi River about 75 miles southwest of Dixon. At WOC he met with the program director who informed Ronald Reagan that he had an opening yesterday which had already been filled.

What was that you said about sports announcing? Ronald Reagan told the program director that what he really wanted to do in radio was to be a sports announcer. He asked Reagan if he knew anything about football, which of course, after his years of playing in high school and in college, Ronald Reagan was quite familiar with. He asked Reagan to pretend to call a game, so Reagan described in great detail an exciting game in which he played at Eureka College. He had finally reached his goal of becoming a sports broadcaster — at least for now.

At the end of the season, however, WOC did not have a continuing position for him, so Ronald Reagan went home again to Dixon, hoping to find another job. Ronald Reagan had resigned himself to waiting until summer to be hired for another year of lifeguarding at Lowell Park.

Life & Times | The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute

He was on the air the first day he arrived — playing records, reading commercials and filling in between local programming and network broadcasts. Without any real training or instructions, Ronald Reagan failed miserably. After nearly losing his job, friends went to work helping him improve his on-air delivery, his rhythm, cadence and emotion. It worked and his steady progress saved his job. Less than 3 months after returning to Davenport, Reagan was asked if he knew anything about track.

Since he had both high school and college experience with the sport, he was asked to broadcast the Drake Relays, a high-profile nationwide meet, and did so with excellence. He also would call the Cubs baseball games without actually attending the games. He would get a slip of paper from over the wire that would describe the play in a few words. Ronald Reagan had to convey that information to the listening audience, adding color commentary, descriptions of the weather, the stadium, the fans and the setting — all from his sound booth in the studio. WOC soon closed its doors and joined WHO in Des Moines in transmitting from a 50, watt clear channel station, one of only 15 in the country.

By the age of 22, Ronald Reagan had already achieved a dream of his — he had spent 4 years as a sports announcer at station WHO in Des Moines. If life would have stopped there, he would have been happy the rest of his life. The doors of his future were opening with each passing day and would ultimately lead him far from the mid-west and his job in sports broadcasting. Since his sophomore year in high school, Ronald Reagan had planned to marry Margaret Cleaver. He had hung his fraternity pin on her, given her an engagement ring, and talked of marriage once they could afford it.

During the Great Depression, Margaret took the only job she could find — in a remote part of Illinois, far away from her betrothed. Although they wrote letters and saw each other sporadically, it became harder and harder. After about two years of living so far apart, Ronald Reagan opened a letter from Cleaver and out fell his fraternity pin and engagement ring.

She had met and fallen in love with a Foreign Service officer and married him soon after. Though it was a difficult time, Ronald Reagan realized that his life and its ties to the mid-west had changed and he now could stand ready to take whatever would come next. Little did he realize then that his first step toward the west would be his first step away from Dixon and the mid-west that had nurtured him — and the mid-west that he loved.

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Winters in the mid-west were long and hard. For Ronald Reagan, he wanted to escape another harsh Iowa winter, but also, secretly, wanted to get closer to Hollywood and to his dream of becoming an actor. In , since he was still calling games on the radio for the Chicago Cubs, he offered to use his vacation time and accompany the team to their training facility on Catalina Island, just 26 miles off the coast of Southern California.

He would gather background information on the players and their progress which would be useful as he called games during the season. It also gave him an opportunity to write articles about the team to sell to small-town local newspapers in the mid-west. His first two annual trips to California were fairly uneventful, but that all changed when Reagan went west for the third time. In , during his annual trip to cover the Chicago Cubs, Ronald Reagan took a ferry from the spring training facility on Catalina Island, and went to meet a friend at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Joy Hodges had worked with Reagan at radio station WHO in Des Moines and now was singing at night with a band and trying to get into the movies. Joy told Ronald Reagan that he would have to get rid of his glasses though, so he went to the biggest meeting of his life barely able to see his interviewer! This agent saw potential in Ronald Reagan and called a casting director at Warner Brothers and told him he should meet Reagan.

The two of them liked Reagan — especially his voice. As Reagan left L. His dream was coming true and just the anticipation of fulfilling that dream was thrilling. The studio said his head looked too small on camera, so they made custom shirts which gave the illusion of smaller shoulders and a larger head. His pencil-thin ties were replaced with wider ties -- tied with wide Windsor knots. He suggested that since he had wide name recognition already, especially in the mid-west, that he go back to his given name -- Ronald Reagan. The studio agreed and Reagan was finally ready for his first day on the set.

Show-time jitters gave way to experience and the director loved the first take. Knowing that his future was secure, at least for a while, Reagan moved his parents to California to join him. Reagan played George Gipp, a Notre Dame football player who died of an infection at the age of With a successful Hollywood movie career well underway, Ronald Reagan appeared to have fulfilled all of his dreams at a very young age. Never could he have imagined that his life story had just begun and that the best was yet to be written.

This small town boy had emerged on the big screen to applause and acclaim, yet this was just laying the foundation for his later arrival on the world stage. Although their marriage produced two wonderful children, Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman would later divorce on June 28, Although his life had been marred by alcoholism and chain smoking, his love for his son had never subsided.

This job gave Jack great pride and self-respect and kept him close to his son. Jack grew to love California and returned to his Catholic faith while living there. Without even opening it, Reagan knew it meant he was being called out of the reserves and into active duty. He was ordered to report to Fort Mason near San Francisco in fourteen days. During the physical exam, Reagan passed every section except for his vision without glasses.

Soon after, Reagan was transferred to Army Air Force Intelligence back in Los Angeles where his unit was assigned to make air force training films and documentaries. Reagan recruited technicians and artists from the movie business and put his previous film-making experience to work creating new methods of briefing pilots and bombardiers. While at Fort Roach, Reagan saw first hand the atrocities of war and the evil of Nazism. Combat camera crews brought back footage from every war zone in the world to be used for training and the images Reagan saw made a deep impact on him and convinced him that others had been duped by much false propoganda about the enemy.

In , Ronald Reagan was discharged from the Army as a Captain. He had recently signed a million dollar contract with Warner Brothers and proceeded to make 22 additional movies, primarily with Warner Brothers but also made films with Paramount, MGM, RKO and Universal as a free agent. Reagan also purchased an 8-acre ranch in the San Fernando Valley, something he dreamed of doing back in his years in Des Moines. His movie career almost became a sideline as he began to talk more about politics and the world off-screen.

He joined every organization that promised to save the world and became an activist and spokesman for causes in which he believed. The war had changed Reagan — he had become serious and passionate about his political activities and people began to listen to what he had to say. Although life appeared to return to normal for Ronald Reagan in , his experiences with the war had changed him -- giving him a new-found passion and interest in political causes, contract negotiations and organizational issues.

At that time, Reagan, a staunch Democrat, thought that government could solve post-war problems, that they, not private companies, should own public utilities, build shelter for homeless Americans and provide socialized medicine for the sick. Neil complained about the growth of government, the over-reaching arm of Washington into the American economy and felt that Russia, our ally in the war, could no longer be trusted. Although Ronald Reagan felt his brother was just repeating Republican propaganda, it began to make him re-examine his own personal beliefs and political viewpoint.

Reagan began to give speeches on their behalf defending American values against the new Facism that seemed to be emerging at home and abroad. That speech concluded to dead silence and Reagan became convinced that the AVC was just a front organization for Communism. Reagan resigned from the organization the very next day. He started wearing his glasses again for these public speeches to show how seriously he took matters of international cooperation, the promotion of racial and religious tolerance and the threat of Facism to divide the world.

Reagan was contacted by the FBI to provide information on what he had learned and gave him their full cooperation. Simultaneously, the Screen Actors Guild, on whose board Reagan also served, was going through heated conflict over its statement of purpose. This role, more than any other, unknowingly set Ronald Reagan on the road to his future career in politics. Following the strike, many Communist sympathizers were exposed. While this was alright, many innocent actors and actresses were falsely accused of having Communist ties as well.

Ronald Reagan, as President of the Screen Actors Guild, set up a system by which innocent SAG members could clear their name and avoid being blacklisted by the public and not have their movies boycotted. An industry council was established to urge those on the list to publicly declare their opposition to Communism and volunteer to appear before the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee — two things no Communist would agree to. He continued speaking out on issues that concerned him and the members of SAG, and began to address increasingly more powerful groups.

He was convinced that America faced no more insidious or evil threat than that of Communism. Little did he know how influential he would eventually become in the overthrow of that very threat. As President of the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan was called upon to help actors and actresses solve a variety of problems or disputes. In , in the aftermath of Communist accusations in Hollywood, a young contract actress for MGM by the name of Nancy Davis was concerned that there were several other actresses by the name of Nancy Davis, and some were Communist sympathizers.

She had recently been getting mail erroneously from these front groups and wanted to find a way to clear her good name. At the urging of her director, Davis and Reagan went to dinner to discuss her situation and find a solution. With busy careers and other relationships though, their dating began slowly and sporatically at first, but eventually became more committed and serious, culminating in a proposal of marriage.

To avoid the intrusion of the Hollywood press, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married in a secret, quiet ceremony in the Little Brown Church in the Valley on March 4, , attended only by their best man and matron of honor, Bill and Ardis Holden, and their minister. On that day in when they became Mr. Ronald Reagan, neither of them could have ever imagined where their marriage would take them. Yet they knew they would find out together. After her marriage to Ronald Reagan in , Nancy asked to be released from her 7-year contract with MGM and turned her attention to her home and her husband.

A few more years later, on May 28, , Ronald Prescott Regan was born and completed their family. In , Nancy briefly returned to Hollywood and made one last picture, her only film with husband and co-star, Ronald Reagan. He began to turn down film offers and wait for roles which were better suited for him. In between those times, Reagan began to wonder about the future of his career and was concerned about the direction of the Hollywood film industry in general.

Reagan was still breeding thoroughbreds at his ranch and was giving speeches and emceeing live shows, but was hesitant to pursue TV offers, thinking that people would stop paying to see him on the big screen if they could watch him on the little screen for free. Nonetheless, guest television spots helped pay the bills between movies, so Reagan began to appear in more and more TV shows and theater programs. Little did he know then that his transition from movies to television would bring him out of the theater and into nearly every living room in America -- giving him a voice across the nation.

The General Electric Company in was in the market for a new television program and proposed a weekly dramatic anthology which would feature a different story and a different cast every week.