FRANK GANNON: In the ‘ 46 and ‘ 50 campaigns, you played the piano. You played fairly often, I think, as a—sort of as a technique of campaigning. In those days people were used to gathering around the piano and singing. Did you—did you want your daughters to learn?
RICHARD NIXON: Oh, yes.
FG: Did they take lessons?
RN: Well, we—oh, yes. We went through that. The musical heritage, though, didn’t go beyond me. Both Julie and Tricia like music. Pat naturally wanted to give them an opportunity to learn. We bought an accordion for one and gave piano lessons to the other, to Tricia particularly. I remember—remember an incident on that. This is about, I would say, 1956, and at that time she would have been ten years old, and she was taking piano lessons for the first time, and I was trying to help her one night. And I was telling her, “You know, honey, the most important thing in learning to play the piano is to practice.” I said, “It’s tiring and boring, but if you practice, you can be as good as you want to be.” She thought a moment and she looked at me and said, “You know, Daddy, you should have practiced more when you were a little boy. If you had, you might have become famous and have gone to Hollywood, and they would have buried you in a special place.”
—Nixon/Gannon Interviews, February 9, 1983
OK, OK, I’ll practice this afternoon. Three hours, I promise.
I should add that the fact that Julie Nixon Eisenhower once played the accordion passes through so many conflicting layers of ironic and non-ironic cool that it must separate out into radioactive isotopes at the other end.