How much do I want to read more? 6/10
This man had an eventful youth. I always considered that doing as many different things when you're young will be an asset for all your life.
The funny fact is he got elected president in school, sport, theatre and the many activities he tried, like a premonition.
He also was quite popular. He didn't have an easy start. His family was poor. He had to use his imagination to make his way through.
So many ingredients to go to success.
Dutch peeled off his glasses and dived into the dark water. He followed the sounds. A desperate man was struggling to keep his head above water. The swimmer was so panicky that he tried to fight off his rescuer.
Dutch was afraid the man would drown them both. At last, the swimmer was too exhausted to fight anymore. Dutch held the man’s head out of the water and swam one-armed back to shore.
“PULLED FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH” screamed the headline in the Dixon, Illinois, Evening Telegraph. The paper called Dutch a hero, adding that he had saved twenty-five lives so far.
Many years later, when he was known as Ronald Reagan, he became the fortieth president of the United States. But Dutch always looked back on his days as a lifeguard as one of the best times of his life.
Chapter 1 - A Boy Called “Dutch”
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911.
When he saw his new son, he laughed. “Why, he looks like a fat little Dutchman!”
The nickname stuck. The baby was known as “Dutch” all through his childhood.
Dutch was more of a loner. He liked to hike along the banks of the Rock River, pretending to be a fur trapper of long ago. In one house the Reagans rented, Dutch found an old collection of butterflies and birds’ eggs in the attic. He spent a lot of time studying them.
When Dutch and Neil were little, Nelle read them stories every night. She would read slowly and point to each word as she said it aloud. By the time he was five, Dutch was able to read the newspapers on his own.
Chapter 2 - College Days
Like a lot of boys, Dutch wanted to be a sports star. He was always a good swimmer, but he had never done well at team sports. He couldn’t seem to catch balls or aim well when he threw. One day, Dutch happened to try on his mother’s eyeglasses. Suddenly, he could see! All his life he had been nearsighted but didn’t realize it. He had just assumed that the world looked fuzzy to everyone.
Dutch felt at home in Dixon. After years of being a loner, he was one of the most popular boys in his class at Northside High School.
Besides playing football, he starred in school plays and worked on the yearbook. He wrote short stories for the literary contest and took art classes. He was elected president of the drama club and president of his senior class.
When he graduated in 1928, each student was asked to pick a quotation that would be printed under his or her picture in the yearbook. Dutch chose one from a poem his mother had taught him: “Life is just one grand, sweet song: so start the music.”
Dutch’s dad was now a partner in a shoe store in Dixon. He was doing better than before, but there was still not enough money to pay for four years of college.
So Dutch went to see the Eureka College president. He told him that he was an all-around athlete, who would be a credit to the school.
The president was impressed by his confidence. He arranged for a scholarship. Dutch would earn the rest of his money by working part-time. To help pay for room and board, he washed dishes in his fraternity house.
Almost as soon as Dutch started at Eureka, there was a crisis. The college was short of money and planned to cut out some courses. There was a meeting, and Dutch made a strong speech against the cuts.
Before he knew it, Dutch was leading a student strike. The strike ended with a compromise after a few days. But Dutch was elected to the student senate, becoming president in his senior year.
Dutch was just an average student at Eureka. But he was so busy that it was a miracle he passed his courses at all. Besides playing football, he was also the star of the swimming team and the track team.
He starred in seven class plays and won a prize in an acting contest at Northwestern University.
“You could make it as an actor,” one judge told him. That sounded exciting but not very practical.
Dutch was worried about telling his family that he wanted to go into show business. So he applied for a job at a local department store. But the store hired someone else. After that, Dutch felt free to look for work in radio.
Within a few years, Dutch Reagan was one of the most popular sportscasters in the Midwest. He covered college football and Chicago Cubs games for station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
Dutch got a friend to fix up a screen test for him at one of the big Hollywood movie studios. A week later, he was offered a contract. Dutch Reagan was going to be an actor, after all.
Part of being a movie star was getting a makeover. The studio changed his hair and clothes. It told him to stop wearing his glasses. It even changed his name. “Dutch Reagan” just wasn’t a good name for a movie actor. Everyone stood around trying to think of a new name.
“How about Ronald Reagan?” said Dutch.
“Hey, that’s not bad,” said the man in charge.
That was the end of Dutch Reagan. For the first time in his life, he would be known by his real name.
THE GREAT DEPRESSION BEGAN WITH THE STOCK MARKET CRASH ON BLACK THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1929. IN A FEW SHORT DAYS, MANY MILLIONAIRES LOST ALL THEIR MONEY.
THOUSANDS OF BANKS AND BUSINESSES SOON CLOSED. MILLIONS FOUND THEMSELVES OUT OF WORK. MEN AND WOMEN STOOD IN LONG LINES, WAITING FOR HANDOUTS OF BREAD AND SOUP.
MANY FARMERS LOST THEIR LAND. WHOLE FAMILIES PILED INTO BROKEN-DOWN CARS, HEADING WEST IN SEARCH OF PAYING WORK.
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT BECAME PRESIDENT IN 1933. HE STARTED GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS TO GIVE WORK TO THE UNEMPLOYED. ROOSEVELT’S POLICIES GAVE MANY PEOPLE HOPE, BUT THE GREAT DEPRESSION DIDN’T END IN AMERICA UNTIL AFTER 1940. EVEN TODAY, EXPERTS ARGUE ABOUT WHY IT LASTED SO LONG—AND WHY IT FINALLY ENDED.