|I was born in Akron, Ohio on June 6, 1943, one year to the day before D-Day, the allied invasion at Normandy. The youngest of four children, I was brought up in a wonderfully stable, loving family of strong Midwestern values. When I was three my family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where we lived in a beautiful large home in a lovely upper-middle class neighborhood. I grew up there -- at least to the extent one can be considered to be grown up on leaving for college at age 18 -- and was convinced that Kansas City, Missouri was the exact center of the known universe.
My mother, Esther Virginia Rhoads, was the third of six children of Charlotte Kraft and Errett Stanley Rhoads, a wealthy manufacturer of furniture in the Kansas City area. She liked the unusual name Errett so much that she gave it to me as my middle name. She picked the name Richard after the crusading English king (the Lion-Hearted), but being a good American and suitably suspicious of royalty, she was fond of calling me "Mr. President" instead. She had big plans for me, and loved me beyond all reason.