My letter from President Ford was held hostage.
In 1976, during my junior year of university, I volunteered to work for the Presidentials, a national youth program to elect Gerald Ford president of the United States. Mr. Ford was already serving as president – America's only unelected president. (In 1973, he became vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned, pleading "no contest" to income-tax evasion. Later, in 1974, Ford became president when Richard Nixon resigned due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal.)
I worked with other Presidentials in my state to support Ford in the GOP presidential primary. It was exciting work, and I was invited to go to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Mo. It was exciting because, going into the convention, neither Ford nor his challenger, Ronald Reagan, had enough delegates to capture the presidential nomination.
Eventually, Ford captured the delegates needed to win the nomination, but then lost the election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
In January 1977, on Ford's last day as president, I sent a telegram to him and Mrs. Ford at the White House. I thanked them for their service to our country and wished them well as private citizens. It was a brief message.
Several days passed, and I received a response from the Fords, a letter. In the upper-right corner of the envelope, where the first-class stamp normally goes, was the signature "Gerald Ford." The envelope was also stamped by the post office with "Postage due 13 cents." Yes, in 1977 the cost of a first-class stamp was 13 cents.