I was a hippie in San Francisco when the only U.S. president to resign waved goodbye, flashing a fake grin. We watched the televised Nixon stride toward the helicopter that lifted him and his wife Pat off the White House lawn. Hunching up rigid shoulders and stretching his arms so wide that one hand appeared to touch the chopper's emblazoned American flag, the chastened president posed as a human victory sign.
Nine years later, in 1983, I entered my New York Times office to a ringing telephone. "This is Ray Price, President Nixon's press secretary. He wants to speak to you."