Marking Richard Nixon's 100th birthday -- with a map
Paul J. Carter has a project fitting for Richard M. Nixon. It's called "Native Son Richard Nixon's Southern California: My Life on a Map!"
Made like a guide to Hollywood stars' homes, the fold-out map is an illustrated romp through the life of the only White House occupant born and raised in Southern California. It's a hot item at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, with more than 500 copies snapped up last year at $4.99 each.
"It's a really, really good seller," said Jonathan Movroydis, spokesman for the Richard Nixon Foundation.
Sunday launches a yearlong celebration of the centennial of Nixon's birth on Jan. 9, 1913. The small farmhouse where Nixon entered the world is pictured on the map, with the long-gone citrus trees his father had planted on 9 acres surrounding the home.
The copyrighted map — whose cover depicts its bemused subject reading it — is dotted with photos and with drawings by artist Jean-Louis Rheault and includes milestones in Nixon's controversial career. But check out Nixon as a frowning schoolboy at Yorba Linda Elementary, where, the map notes, he "often went to school barefooted" (which may explain the scowl).
There's the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where Nixon sports his 1933 Whittier College football uniform against USC: "Whittier lost 51-0." Elsewhere, infant Tricia pops from the roof of the hospital where the first of Pat and Richard Nixon's two daughters was born in 1946.
And there's a Bundy Drive home where, the caption says, Nixon stood on the roof with his hose in 1961 as a fire raged through the neighborhood. The map says he hit a hole-in-one at the Bel-Air Country Club the same year.
Does anybody recall a slogan for Nixon's losing 1962 gubernatorial campaign against Pat Brown? Here's one on a billboard: "Click with Dick…"
World leaders commemorated at the Nixon library make an appearance — Mao Tse-tung, Charles De Gaulle, Golda Meir. A miniature Nikita Khrushchev points angrily, as if repeating his 1956 "We will bury you!" threat.
For those who remember the famous photograph of Nixon walking on the beach in wing-tip shoes, there is this counterpoint: an illustration of a hairy-chested Nixon in red trunks in the ocean off San Clemente. The president was swimming there, the caption says, when the "First Article of Impeachment was voted up by Congress" in 1974.
Carter said he wanted the map to be fun, easily understood and hard to stop looking at — and a more complete picture of the man still known largely for the Watergate scandal.
Photo: Paul Carter with his map, “Native Son Richard Nixon’s Southern California: My Life on a Map!” It sells for $4.99 at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times