Baby Handed Off Into Next Apartment, Scores Touchdown, Becomes President
As I mentioned in a prior post, I’ve been doing work for The Rumpus, which features essays on a wide range of subjects.
Reagan’s nickname was “The Gipper.” Reagan was a former Hollywood actor who played the role of football hero George “The Gipper” Gipp in the 1940 movie, Knute Rockne, All American. “Win one for The Gipper” is a popular American catch-phrase from the movie. Reporters began referring to Reagan as “The Gipper” during his presidential campaign.
I envisioned a 4th of July parade marching out of an old football helmet.
The Rumpus essay recounts that on November 3, 1980, it rained in Tampico. Then a rainbow appeared. It arced down onto the walkup apartment where Reagan was born in 1911. Lloyd McElhiney, the manager of the local grain elevator, ran home, got his camera, and captured the image.
The next day, Reagan won the presidential election in a landslide. Here’s the photo.
Tampico is a small rural town– less than 800 people. Ronald Reagan is their claim to fame. The building where he was born is now a museum. Visitors get free jelly beans, which were Reagan’s favorite snack.
I asked myself how I could work a rainbow into the mix, and came up with this:
The bedroom where Reagan was born had an interior window which opened into the adjacent apartment. Reagan’s parents were friends with the couple next door, and they would babysit each other’s children. Rather than climb up and down the apartment’s narrow staircase, the two couples would “hand off Baby Ronald like a football back and forth through the window”– which conjures up a very funny image.
Reagan visited Tampico three times as an adult. I envisioned him crying red, white, and blue jelly bean tears, as he thought back on his many happy trips thru the window. Naturally, the beans assembled themselves into an American flag…
Here’s a close-up detail. For me, the most satisfying aspect of the illustration is how the two ugly wallpapers gently fade into each other.
Reagan had a very distinctive, “peakish” hairstyle. I tried to give Baby Reagan a similar look, only in reverse.
What do you think– was that rainbow an omen?
There must be millions of tiny local museums– ever been to one that stands out in your memory?
If you enjoyed this post and would like to let me know, please click the Like button below.
If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon, or one of the other Share buttons.