Nancy Reagan was the toughest, closest and most trusted adviser of her husband, Ronald Reagan, during his California governorship and U.S. Presidency. I never had any strong opinions about her one way or the other. I didn’t dislike her as much as I didn’t care. Except, of course, when she launched her infamous “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign in 1986, which nearly everyone regarded as an embarassment.
But my heart went out to her one day in the summer of 2013. It happened inside Alex Roldan hair salon, which is on the first floor of the London hotel in West Hollywood. She was driven from her Bel Air home to the salon every two or three weeks, my hair guy told me, but at age 92 she was obviously frail and her legs were apparently gone. I recognized the syndrome as my mother, who passed in 2015, was going through similar woes at the time.
Two people — a personal assistant and a hair salon employee — were trying to help Mrs. Reagan move from a shampoo chair into her wheelchair, and it was taking forever. I was about ten feet away and was on the verge of offering to help. It wasn’t my place, of course, so I just stood there and watched. The poor woman. Old age offers very little dignity, and no mercy at all.