What's an ex-president to do? Play harmonica

April 03, 1994|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Word has been going around among old friends of the Reagans that the former president and first lady are doing fine out in California.

She still likes her social life. He still likes his ranch. And, oh yes, their friends say, he's learning to play the harmonica.

"Everyone is kind of bemused, and entranced, with the idea that this is what Ronald Reagan does when he leaves the presidency. It's so typical of the man," said James Cannon, who once worked in the Reagan White House.

Responding to a query about whether he was taking lessons, Mr. Reagan sent a fax that said, "Unfortunately, I'm not taking music lessons and probably should be. I've always liked the harmonica, but can barely play a tune. . . . I play for my own self-amusement exclusively -- usually when I don't have my hearing aids in."

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