Ronald Reagan to the Director of Washington National Airport, 1998

They're those sweet little things with the different colors. You know what I'm talking about.

Dear Mr. Director:

I have heard that you are planning to name your airport after me and I have just one thing to say: jellybeans! There must be jellybeans everywhere, in every darned terminal of that place. Don’t make people go upstairs or downstairs to get ’em, either. Jellybeans should be available on every floor, in every terminal, in both the men’s and women’s restrooms at all times.

And another thing: I think it would be nice if there were jellybeans available to travelers. On a long day of travel, nothing can help keep your blood sugar up and your spirits high like jellybeans. Jellybeans are also a fun distraction because they come in so many different flavors. You can play games with them or just eat them.

Actually, I just thought of this. This is really important: what if we had jellybeans everywhere in the airport? I mean everywhere! Even the men’s restrooms (women might think it’s distasteful). People know I love jellybeans and this will really make the airport my airport. Not like that commie cocksucker JFK’s airport.

God bless,

Ronald Reagan

p.s. Have you thought at all about candy for the airport? Call me, I have a great idea.


History will remember Ronald Reagan for many things, but we here at History of the Letter Towers will always fondly remember the Gipper for one thing: jellybeans. We have received and acquired hundreds of Reagan’s personal correspondences, and nearly all of them were either about or referenced the delicious candy. Though the official Reagan library may have tragically whitewashed the President’s love of jellybeans, we will never be so academically negligent.

Take for example a letter we received a few years ago. It came from private collector and noted Reagan-ophile Nancy Pelosi, now House Minority Leader (D-CA). She had acquired the letter after soundly beating Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a game of Canasta. It is addressed to Speaker Tip O’Neill and dates from early 1982:

In re: your request to discuss proposed fiscal numbers with Treasury, I can only offer you this analogy: Imagine a world made of jellybeans. Literally, everything in the entire world was made of jelly beans. Grass-green beans, lampposts- black beans, communists…well I shouldn’t have to tell you. Wouldn’t you prefer that to our world?

Or from this letter to an admirer, from 1991:

Far be it for me to deride the actions of the House majority, or my successor President Bush. I can only say that had I been faced with the same decision, I would have opened a package of jellybeans, sat down, eaten the jellybeans, thought hard, and eaten some jellybeans.

And of course this famous letter to actor Jimmy Stewart from Reagan’s time as Governor of California (a role later reprised by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a revival):

Lastly, James, let me say how honored I am to have your support. Your roles have been an inspiration to me. In the immortal words of Jefferson Smith: “With every last breath in my body, I’ll fight for these jellybeans.” By the way, next time you see Henry [Fonda], tell him to go 12 angry fuck himself.

Of course, Reagan was not the first noted person to have a say in developing the airport named after him. Fiorello LaGuardia demanded that Terminal B of his airport be staffed entirely by angry jerks, preferably incapable of performing basic tasks. At his airport in Paris, Charles DeGaulle tried to have a separate baggage claim in a hot, smelly, windowless room for all inbound flights from Germany. The practice actually dates back to the days of Caesar Augustus, who loved to have things named after himself, but was very picky about specifics. Thanks to this pickiness (or as some would call it, “class”), the month of August to this day officially has no Tuesdays. That we still call the day between Monday and Wednesday “Tuesday” during August is simply a testament to the ubiquity of Austrian philosopher Baertrect Tues. But as every schoolchild knows, the Romans (and to this day, the Catholic Church), called these days “Quinterpius Mater Iuliarii Quo Pictum Es Terament De Augustii”-day.



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3 responses to “Ronald Reagan to the Director of Washington National Airport, 1998

  1. Haha, “call me. I have a great idea!”

  2. Laura

    My favorite line was “Fiorello LaGuardia demanded that Terminal B of his airport be staffed entirely by angry jerks, preferably incapable of performing basic tasks.”

  3. marianne

    When did you learn Latin?

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