• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 09
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Reel to Reel

Just as Deep Throat was helping reporters investigate the cover up of the break-in at the Democratic national headquarters by Nixon operatives during the ‘72 election, my father got a job as student activities director at Lyndon State College, in Lyndonville, Vermont, courtesy of a federal jobs program. My parents and their year-old daughter moved to a white frame duplex at 10 Center Street. My mother taught correspondence Spanish courses for Indiana University. I pulled her textbooks off the living room bookshelves. Senate hearings investigating the Watergate affair interrupted As the World Turns in May 1973 and a year later, on my third birthday, Nixon resigned from office.

The Nixon tapes, the smoking gun, as it were, of the Watergate scandal, were in our possession during this time. My father engaged Mark Felt, associate director of the FBI, to speak at the college and he attended a reception at our house. This event may or may not have been marked by the collapse of our blue velvet sofa. The reel-to-reel tape deck sat on the floor to the left of our piano. It caught my first words as well as my first memories: Nixon. Tapes. Impeach. The word impeach was as problematic to me as our possession of the tapes. Peaches were good. But Nixon was a bad bad man. Were we going to get in trouble for having the tapes? No one could explain these contradictions to a toddler. My mother got a cassette deck and a few years later we moved to Maine. Our reel-to-reel tapes were expunged and we settled into the slow grind of the 80’s.