I was born in a house my father built. My birth on the night of January 9, 1913, coincided with a record-breaking cold snap in our town of Yorba Linda, California. Yorba Linda was a farming community of 200 people about thirty miles from Los Angeles, surrounded by avocado and citrus groves and barley, alfalfa, and bean fields.
For a child the setting was idyllic. In the spring the air was heavy with the rich scent of orange blossoms. And there was much to excite a child’s imagination: glimpses of the Pacific Ocean to the west, the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, a “haunted house” in the nearby foothills to be viewed with awe and approached with caution — and a railroad line that ran about a mile from our house.
In the daytime I could see the smoke from the steam engines. Sometimes at night I was awakened by the whistle of a train and then I dreamed of the far-off places I wanted to visit someday.
—The opening paragraphs of RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon
The Nixon Family circa 1919: Harold, Frank, Arthur on Hannah’s lap, and Richard.