The Weekly Quill — Paging Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.

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Paging Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.

Life in the Curves’ Tails:  A 2022 Scenario

“The presidency is the highest office given to the people. The vice presidency is the highest and the lowest. It isn’t a crime, exactly. You can’t be sent to jail for it, but it’s a kind of a disgrace.”

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States,
36th Vice President of the United States

One must wonder if Dorothy Ayer Gardner was destined to be a battered wife for the good of her country. On her honeymoon with Leslie Lynch King Sr., she smiled at another man prompting her new husband to hit her for the first, but not the last time. Gardner left her husband 16 days after the July 14, 1913, birth of her son, who had been named after his father. The two fled Oak Park, Illinois to live with her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two-and-a-half-years later, on February 1, 1917, Gardner – whose December 1913 divorce had granted her full custody of her son – married Gerald Rudolph Ford. Though never formally adopted, from that day forward, her son went by the name of Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. The formal name change to Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. did not arrive until December 3, 1935.

By then, the 38th President of the United States had played on that year’s Collegiate All-Star football team and was the stuff of legends at the University of Michigan for having helped the Wolverines to two undefeated seasons in 1932 and 1933. A Bachelor of Arts in economics in hand, Ford turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers and instead accepted a job in September 1935 as the boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale University, where he had applied to Law School…to which he was eventually admitted in 1938. After graduating in the top third of his class in 1941, Ford returned to Grand Rapids where he began practicing law. That stint proved short-lived after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

Perhaps it was serving his country so honorably. It could have been the tour of duty in the Pacific theater. Between the time he enlisted in the Navy and his honorable release with the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1946, something in Ford underwent a transformation. Some seven years earlier, he was part of a group of his fellow Yalies who signed a petition to enforce the 1939 Neutrality Act. Upon his return to Grand Rapids, he was ready to continue serving his country in the capacity of a Republican politician.

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