Opinion: A tiny tale about Ronald Reagan one holiday season long ago


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Here’s a sappy little holiday politician story that has nothing to do with large headlines and tax cut conflict in Congress. So it can’t be very important.

However, it might fool some people into believing that famous public figures who become icons in our country’s unfolding life can also be human at the same time.


The story concerns Ronald Reagan, the notoriously cold-hearted conservative from California. One day in the middle of his eight years as governor (1967-75), Reagan received a letter from two sisters -- Bertha and Samueline Sisco. According to their story, they had promised their dying mother they would always care for their brother, Buzzy who was, as they phrased it in those days, retarded.

The sisters were seeking guidance to some kind of state help in caring for their 43-year-old sibling and the governor’s office steered them toward it.

But Gov. Reagan heard a about the family’s situation and made some inquiries. He discovered that Buzzy had always wanted a rocking chair to sit in with his teddy bear.

For some inexplicable reason, this touched the ruthless Republican who was clearly already plotting to become the 40th president, bankrupt the Soviet Union and end the Cold War.

Shortly before Christmas that year California Highway Patrolman Dale Role delivered a rocking chair to the Sisco home, along with a note explaining that it came from the governor’s personal family furnishings and he wanted Buzzy and his teddy bear to be rocking in time for Christmas.

Reagan apparently kept in touch with the family for many years before his incapacitation from Alzheimer’s in 1994 and his death 10 years later at age 93.

On Thursday at the RR Auction house in Amherst, N.H. an anonymous buyer purchased the old Reagan family chair and a related handwritten letter for about $14,000, according to the firm’s Bobby Livingston.

And now we know that even 40 years ago the former movie actor was clearly conniving for some positive blog publicity during the holiday season of 2010.


We now return to our normally scheduled tales of modern-day political conflict and duplicity.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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