President Pronounced Fit by Lewis Maxon and His Sister Lucille Noel
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) _ Lewis Maxon came to the courthouse square to see for himself how his friend, Ronald Reagan, was doing after his cancer operation. He liked what he saw.
″He looked as good as he did in 1984 when I retired,″ said Maxon, appearing pleased. ″I think he’ll go on to extended life. He is of a hearty stock.″
Others said similar things, but among the thousands who were at the courthouse on Monday for the president’s post-surgery, post-vacation debut, Maxon had a unique basis for comparison.
Last year Reagan came to the Ford Motor Co. plant in Claycomo, Mo. and handed Maxon a plaque marking his retirement after 51 years. The president brought a present, too - cufflinks with the presidential seal and even an autograph on the box.
So when he heard about Reagan’s cancer, Maxon fired off a get-well note - and got a reply.
Maxon’s wife, Jewell, carries a picture of the retirement ceremony in her wallet. Maxon pointed to it.
″Taking into account the short time since his surgery and his age, I think he came through remarkably,″ he said. Jewell Maxon thought the 74-year-old president looked terrific.
Maxon’s twin sister, Lucille Noel - they celebrated their 69th birthday Monday - asserted that if doctors say they cut out all the cancer, then the cancer is all gone.
″A doctor can tell you you haven’t got it,″ she said. ″I’m the living proof. I had a double mastectomy. A month ago, the doctor said I’m free and clear. I don’t even have to go for checkups any more.″
Maxon lives in Grain Valley, Mo., 20 miles east of Independence. His sister is from Kansas City, a short hop to the west.
″I liked what I saw,″ said Dave Ashley, a restaurant manager in Kansas City. ″He was energetic. On the ball. I don’t see any difference now from before the operation.″
With the temperature over 90, Reagan bounded up to the lectern and promptly took off his sport jacket. He looked tan and rested in a blue golf shirt as if to invite comparison with the nearby statue of Harry S. Truman, caught mid- stride in one of his 120-paces-a-minute walks.
″He sounded like he always does,″ said Juanita Cooper, a bookkeeper from Kansas City. ″He sounded like Ronald Reagan.″
Will he live to serve out his term?
″Yes,″ said Carolyn Niccum of Independence, a secretary. ″I see no reason why he shouldn’t.″
Sherry Keithley, who runs a real estate appraisal business, says Reagan would be the first to act if he thought his health was impairing his ability. ″If it gets to the point where he can’t run the country any more, he’ll step down,″ she said.
James Davis, 22, came with other shoe workers from Fulton to hear Reagan, who last week refused to put sanctions on shoe imports.
″I used to get 40 hours a week,″ said Davis. ″Now I get 24 to 30 hours.″ Still, he said, ″I think he’s doing all right and he looks great.″
The shoe workers limited their demonstration to waving a few signs.
And Wilma Boydston, who makes her living as a babysitter, said she worries any time anyone has cancer and especially so when it’s the president.
″My sister had it. I lost a daughter to leukemia,″ she said. ″When I heard the president had cancer, it brought back memories of my own family. It hurts us, it hurts the whole world. Because he’s president.″