Nixon’s love letters to wife Patricia released (VIDEO)

GlobalPost

LOS ANGELES — Former US President Richard Nixon has a softer side, revealed in love letters to his wife Patricia set to be displayed at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California on Friday.

Nixon became known as "Tricky Dick" for his deceptive politics, but was also fiercely in love with his wife, a private side few get to see of the 37th President, the Associated Press reported

The letters offer a stark contrast to the leader forced to resign in 1974 over the Watergate scandal. 

"These letters are fabulous. It's a totally different person from the Watergate tapes that people know," said Olivia Anastasiadis, the museum's supervisory curator. "President Nixon started out as an idealistic young man ready to conquer the world and with Pat Ryan he knew he could do it. There's a lot of hope, there's a lot of tenderness and it's very poetic." 

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Six of the dozens of letters Nixon exchanged with Pat are part of an exhibit called "People Were Her Project" which celebrates the former First Lady's 100th birthday, who Nixon playfully called his "Irish gypsy," the AP reported. 

"Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy," he wrote in one undated letter, ABC News reported. "Let's go for a long ride Sunday; let's go to the mountains on 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 couple met while auditioning for a community theater performance of "The Dark Tower" in Whittier, California, and dated for two years until Nixon proposed to Ryan overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the AP reported. 

The letters span from 1938 to the couple's wedding in 1940, the Los Angeles Times reported. In them, Nixon comes across as a romantic, persistent suitor, the AP reported.  

"Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know," he wrote. "An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire. Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?"

Patricia took to Nixon more slowly, but eventually fell just as in love, and stood by his side throughout his presidency and impeachment, the AP reported. She died in 1993 in New Jersey, just a year before her husband. 

The centennial exhibit is currently on display, and is expected to run through October, according to the Times.

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