One day in early 1974 I was a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon. I needed data about the economy for my work. I walked up 3 flights of stairs to my father’s office. He was Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
He was reading tables of statistics and smoking Kents.
“Pop,” I said. “If you’re not too busy can you help me find some statistics?”
“Benjy,” he said, looking at me through his smoke, “what do you think I have to do that’s more important than helping my only son?”
In October of 1966, when I was a First Year at Yale Law School, I was literally poisoned by the Yale Health Service. I got very sick. My mother thought I was faking and lacked much in the way of sympathy. My father did not hesitate. He drove from DC to New Haven to pick me up and bring me home to recuperate. I went back to Yale in September of ’67 and graduated as elected valedictorian. (Definitely not by grades.)
On my birthday in 1998 my father — by then a widower — sent me a message.
“Happy Birthday to the best son in the world. My support, advisor, confidant, and friend. Love. Pop.”
My father took care of me all of his life as he rose from scholarship boy at Williams to the pinnacle of economic advisory power. No one else does now since my father entered immortality on September 8, 1999. I’m an old man now. Seventy-three. I miss my father desperately. If you still have a living father, thank God. If you had one that was a good man. Thank God.
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