RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Happy birthday former Rutherford resident and White Plains native Peggy Noonan.
The Wall Street Journal and presidential speechwriter was born Sept. 7, 1950 and turns age 66 on Wednesday.
Noonan graduated Rutherford High School in 1968 and was named a distinguished graduate in 1992, the second year the program began. United Nations Ambassador Thomas Pickering was the first honoree.
She was born in Brooklyn to working class parents and lived there until age 5, when her parents relocated to White Plains before moving to Rutherford where she spent most of her youth.
In Rutherford, she lived above a candy store, crediting the stacks of newspapers for developing her love of writing.
She graduated Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, attending at night while waitressing during the day.
Before her White House career, she was a commentary writer for anchorman Dan Rather at CBS News and an adjunct journalism professor at New York University.
She also was a regular on ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet The Press."
She wrote Reagan's address to the nation after the Challenger explosion, drawing upon the poet John Magee's famous words about aviators who "slipped the surly bonds of earth... and touched the face of God."
Noonan coined the phrase "a kinder, gentler nation" and also popularized "a thousand points of light," two memorable catchphrases used by Bush.
Five of her seven books are bestsellers and she's been writing for the WSJ since 2000. She also worked as a consultant on the the TV drama "The West Wing."
She divorced in 1989 and lives with her son in Brooklyn, just miles from her early childhood home.