LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Reagan Library
LA Fridays with Bob and Tom
Week 20. Reagan Library
This week we visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The grounds are beautiful, situated on the top of a hill overlooking Simi Valley in all directions.
Each section of the Presidential Library pertains to a specific time in President Reagan’s life. Included is live footage of the 1981 assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. Other sections are dedicated to the “Rebuilding of America,” a Replica of the Berlin Wall, the threat faced by America at the time and the policy of “Peace through Strength.” Other areas are dedicated to his summits with Gorbachev which ended the Cold War. The tour ends with footage of President Reagan’s funeral.
The main museum houses Air Force One which you will want to walk through. There is a Replica of the Oval Office and the Presidential helicopter called Marine One. An exhibit on the Secret Service, a large portrait of Ronald Reagan in Jelly Beans, a vast collection of 3x5 cards Reagan kept to scribble catchy phrases and a hologram exhibit of Reagan giving a generic speech. In another room are exhibited some of the gifts the Reagan’s received from other countries as well as the fashionable clothing that Nancy had worn during her time.
Bob and I both felt the honesty of the Nixon Presidential Library including the Watergate Tapes favorably contrasted with the omission of the Iran Contra Affair in the Reagan Library.
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and we were provided with a helpful map of all the sections in the Library. We did not use the available audio. You can park in a lot or along the road leading up the hill to the museum serviced by a shuttle.
ROBERT BLAUNSTEIN, PhD BIO
Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.
Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.
As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.
On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.
Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.
THOMAS JACOBSON BIO
Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.
Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.
Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.
Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.