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President Reagan Calls Pennsylvania Family

October 18, 1987

EVANS CITY, Pa. (AP) _ When Sheila Nagy invited President Reagan to have dinner with her ″normal American family,″ she asked him to telephone in advance so she’d have time to defrost extra meat.

Saturday afternoon, as Reagan’s wife, Nancy, recuperated from breast cancer surgery, Mrs. Nagy got a phone call from the president, not to say that he was coming but to personally express his regret that other commitments prevented him from accepting the invitation.

″But he said he and Nancy might take us up on it some other time,″ Mrs. Nagy said.

Reagan also chatted with Mrs. Nagy’s husband, Lewis, a truck driver, and three of their five children.

White House assistant press secretary Liz Murphy confirmed that the call took place. ″It was in response to a letter sent to him,″ Ms. Murphy said.

When Mrs. Nagy picked up the telephone about 4:30 p.m., an operator asked her to hold for the president, she said. She was so startled, she asked, ″The president of what?″

Mrs. Nagy said she did not expect a personal reply after she wrote Reagan Sept. 10 to thank him for improving the nation’s economy.

″Since he’s taken office we’ve been able to buy a car - an American-made car I might add - and we’ve been able to purchase different things. ... Things have been a lot better,″ she said.

In her letter, Mrs. Nagy asked that she be warned ahead of time if he was coming to dinner.

″I told him to please call in advance and let me know ... so I could take enough meat from the freezer and put a couple of extra potatoes in the pot,″ she said. ″I invited him to see what it was like living the normal American family life.″

Mrs. Nagy said she has been praying for Mrs. Reagan and passed on wishes for her quick recovery through the president.

There was one subject discussed that Mrs. Nagy refused to talk about, however.

″It was about an amendment,″ she said. ″It’s one amendment to the Constitution he’d like to change. ... That was personal between me and the president.″

Although the experience was exciting, talking to the president ″was like talking to the neighbor next door,″ Mrs. Nagy said. ″I couldn’t believe that I was so relaxed.″

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