Some lovely gift ideas from the Nixon Library

ON POLITICS

December 13, 1993|By JACK GERMOND & JULES WITCOVER

WASHINGTON -- Great news, fellow Americans! Arriving in the mail around the country, just in time for Christmas, is -- the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace Gift Catalog!

As Dave Barry would say, we are not making this up. The privately financed Nixon Library on the hallowed ground of the great man's Yorba Linda, Calif., birthplace is sending out a handsome, multicolored folder illustrating "Great Selections from the Museum Gift Shop" that you can have "shipped UPS within 24 hours!" by writing, phoning or faxing your order pronto.

Our favorite, for forward-looking (and perhaps forgetful) voters, is a photo of the president retired by Watergate in 1974, showing him smiling, flashing a thumbs-up and bearing the caption: "Nixon in '96. Tan, Rested and Ready!"

For those of you, however, who would prefer to look backward, you may fancy part or all of the Elvis Collection, advertised thus in the catalog: "Elvis Has Been Spotted -- He's at Nixonland!" The featured item is a 22-by-28-inch poster entitled "The President and the King," showing the famous pose of Nixon shaking the hand of a caped, necklaced Elvis in the Oval Office, which you can have for $18.

Other gems in this collection are a bundle of 10 note cards with the same photo for $15, a "postcard with Elvis stamp and First Day of Issue U.S. Postal pictorial cancellation" for $5, and a smaller, 8-by-10-inch photo "beautifully framed with mat" for $35. Finally, a men's or lady's quartz crystal watch with "The President and the King" on the face, in color or black and white, for $45.

But you say you're not into rock 'n' roll? You're more the sports fan? You can get the "official program and roster from the 1992 Nixon/Eisenhower All-Time Baseball Greats luncheon," personally autographed by Nixon, for a mere $200. Or how about a genuine "major league baseball with wood stand and inscribed plaque" bearing the signature of that famous curve-baller, Dick Nixon?

And then there are the baseball caps -- "Presidential and fun! One size fits all," bearing either the presidential seal or library and birthplace insignia, in various striking colors, from $9.50 to $16. Or a neatly packaged "sleeve of three" golf balls "with the Eagle crest and RN's signature" for $10. Sorry, no bowling balls listed, but perhaps you can special order.

For the kiddies, there are "Games, Puzzles and Toys for All Ages" including the "Hail to the Chief Board Game" ($29.95), "The American Presidents Puzzle" (125 pieces, $4.95), "USA Trivia" ($30) and even a red, white and blue frisbee bearing the library insignia ($2.50).

For the serious card player, there's your basic all-purpose playing cards with "portraits of all Presidents and selected events in American history" (single decks, $6; bridge set, $12.50), or "Presidential Rummy" cards featuring "40 Presidents that chronicle the nation's first 200 years" ($6.50).

For the well-dressed Nixonian, you can buy a gold tie tac ($15.95), tie bar ($19.50) or cuff links bearing the presidential seal, just like the ones RN used to hand out like popcorn when you visited him at the Oval Office ($18.50). But the casual Nixonophile may choose instead the "New! Pop-art RN" T shirt in blue and teal ($14.95) or, once again (Buy the whole set!), "The President and the King" colorized photo T shirt (same low price).

The serious-minded will want to own one of Nixon's post-resignation-in-disgrace books of foreign-policy and political analysis (autographed, $200) or cassettes ($15.95), or a wide assortment including "The White House Family Cookbook" and the autobiography of Pat Nixon by daughter Julie Nixon Eisenhower (autographed, $25). Also, for the serious listener, there is a video of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates ($24.95) for masochistic Nixonites and "Richard Nixon Reflects," interviewed by one Morton Kondracke on world affairs, the presidency, and life since the White House (Listen all the way to the end to hear whether he ever mentions Watergate!).

The assumption in all this is that the proceeds go to the Nixon Library. But nowhere in the mailer does it say so. Could it have been edited out, as in "expletive deleted"? No matter. At this Christmas season, it's the spirit that counts.

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