(WASHINGTON) — The term “romantic” may not come to mind when you think of Richard Nixon, but these just-revealed letters from the former president to his future wife Pat Ryan show another side of the famously private man.
The letters, which date from 1938 to just before their marriage in 1940, show Nixon as a man in love, a daydreaming type who remarks on the beauty of a sunset. Pat’s responses are full of energy, peppered with questions and exclamation points.
In one, Nixon describes in third person how he felt finding Pat’s latest letter.
“In that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire… his heart was filled with that grand poetic music, which makes us wish for those we love the realization of great dreams, the fulfillment of all they desire.”
“Someday let me see you again?” he scribbled below his signature. “In September? Maybe?”
In another, Nixon addresses his wife-to-be as “Dearest Heart,” then describes the happiness he dreams of when they are reunited.
“Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you,” Nixon writes. “Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy. In fact I should always want you to live just as you wanted – because if you didn’t then you would change and wouldn’t be you.
“Let’s go for a long ride Sundays; let’s go to the mountains weekends; let’s read books in front of fires; most of all let’s really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours.”
The letters go on display this week at the Nixon Presidential Library to commemorate what would have been Pat Nixon’s 100th birthday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Melissa Gray, CNN
Ashley Fantz, Faith Karimi and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
David Rose, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN