Boyhood chum recalls Nixon's smarts
Lifelong Whittier resident Hubert Perry attended high school and Whittier College with Richard Nixon.
"He was six months older than me and a lot smarter. I never caught up with him," Perry, 99, joked. Even then, "You knew he was going to do something worthwhile, because he was smarter than anyone else."
Perry's home resembles a shrine to his friend.
One bookshelf is stuffed with volumes written by — and about — Nixon and his White House aides. Then there are the photos of Nixon and the letters from him.
It was Perry's father, H.L. Perry, who wrote to Nixon to ask him to run for Congress upon his return from naval service after World War II. Nixon took his local seat from a Democrat who had held it for several terms. A mere six years later, Nixon had risen through the ranks of the US Senate to be vice president.
"He jumped up much faster than other people in the political scheme," said Perry, who remained friends with Nixon throughout the years. "That's because he was articulate and was a scholar of politics."
— The Orange County Register