Pat Nixon was born ninety-eight years ago today, on 16 March 1912.

My mother was born near midnight on March 16th, 1912, in a miner’s shack high in the mountains of eastern Nevada.  Although it was almost spring the nights in the copper boom town of Ely were frosty, and one of her brothers, Bill Ryan, remembers being awakened by cold air seeping into the cabin.  When he got out of bed, two-and-a-half-year-old Bill saw his father standing at the front door with a stranger.  The man pocketed five dollars and then he was gone.  Bill was round-eyed with questions.  “You have a little sister now,” his father, Will Ryan, explained.  “That money was to pay the doctor.”

At her mother’ s insistence the baby was called Thelma Catherine.  But thoroughly Irish Will Ryan, whose parents came from County Mayo, circumvented the Thelma.  His daughter was always “Babe” to him.  He decided too that they would observe her birthday on March 17th, the birthday of Ireland’s patron saint.  When Bill once asked why his sister’s birthday was celebrated a day late, his father answered, “Well, she was there in the morning, my St. Patrick’s Babe in the morning.”

From:  Pat Nixon: The Untold Story by Julie Nixon Eisenhower

RN, in RN, describes how he prevailed on Duke Ellington to play something on the piano at the conclusion of the star-studded 70th birthday celebration the Nixons hosted for him in the East Room in April 1969:

The room was hushed as he sat quietly for a moment.  Then he said he would improvise a melody.  “I shall pick a name — gentle, graceful — something like Patricia,” he said.

And when he started to play it was lyrical, delicate, and beautiful — like Pat.

A quilt square of the Pat Nixon Rose, bred in 1972 by Marie-Louise Meilland.