Ike! Where Are You When We Really Need You?
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, when the ship got to quarantine all those reporters came aboard, taking pictures and asking questions. I thought John was just another Army officer, but I guess I was wrong.”
“You sure were,” I said. “Before you get through you may find you’re married to the son of the President of the United States.”
Barbara and John were married in Fort Monroe at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, where her father was then stationed. We were asked to the wedding, but in a fit of misguided economy, I refused to go. I have always regretted it.
The young Eisenhowers somehow managed to retain their engaging innocence for many years. In the winter of 1950 they came out to Cedarhurst with Ike, who was then President of Columbia University. John and Barbara got me aside and said, “We’ve never been to a New York night club, and we thought of going to one tonight. Someone suggested the Latin Quarter. Is that good?”
I told them it was an excellent choice and John asked, “Is it very expensive?”
I said, “Well, rather. How much did you plan to spend?”
John answered. “I’ve got twenty-five dollars.”
I said, “Oh, dear. Then I called across the room. “General Ike, these kids want to go to a nightclub. How about giving them fifty bucks so they can do it right?”
Ike grinned and said, “Alden, why do you put the bee on me?” But he handed over the fifty dollars.
I had no compunction because Ike had just sold “Crusade in Europe” to Doubleday for $650,000. It had been arranged with the Bureau of Internal Revenue that since his book was supposedly a one-shot deal, the result of all his lifetime experience, the money would be regarded as capital gains. Ike was the only person who ever got away with that.