Maureen Reagan and her husband adopted a little girl from Uganda. How they got to America provides a lesson that Congress—and the president—should heed.
By Eleanor Clift
Sometimes a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go. President Reagan’s valiant fight against Alzheimer’s disease is in that category for me. I wasn’t a fan of Reagan’s policies, but there was something about the man, and the way he played the role of a lifetime. A visitor to his Century City office after he left the White House told the story of reminding Reagan that he was once President, and he asked, “How’d I do?”
Newsweek did a cover story on “the long goodbye” in the fall of 1995 when Reagan was still in the earlier stages of the disease that would take his life a decade later, in 2004. During the course of my reporting the story, Mrs. Reagan told me that one of the things that gave her husband pleasure was teaching the newest addition to the family how to swim in the heated pool at their Bel-Air home.
“Rita is a real ‘water baby,’ thanks to our pool and my husband,” Mrs. Reagan wrote in a written response to questions, describing then 10-year-old Rita Mirembe Revell, the child that her stepdaughter, Maureen Reagan, and her husband Dennis Revell, had adopted from Uganda. Newsweek asked for photos. We didn’t get them, but I always wondered what happened to Rita.
The last public sighting of her was at her mother’s funeral in 2001. Rita was 16; her mother was 60 when she died after a five-year battle with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Maureen Reagan was Reagan’s daughter with his first wife, the actress Jane Wyman. At her mother’s funeral, Rita was seen holding tight onto Wyman, who looked frail and distraught.
Click here for the full article.
Source: The Daily Beast