Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 6, 1968

Thirty nine years ago today I graduated from high school.

For years Paul Newman posters had covered my walls...then suddenly there was a Democratic Presidential candidate sharing the space. For the first time in my life I was genuinely excited about an election. No longer parroting my parents beliefs. I got it. Someone I truly believed in. I knew what was important. He would end the war. Bring Peace to the nation. A champion of equality. Racism would end. Hope for me and the country. Things were changing and this was the right way to go.

In junior high we had air raid drills. Hiding under the auditorium stage, flanked by 55 gallon drums full of Korean War surplus. Could we really live on those old crackers and rations if the Russians decided to drop the bomb? Could I run the two miles home before it hit? Scary times. They thought the kids didn't get it. That ad of the cute little blond in the daisy field right before the mushroom cloud. It could happen. Were my parents prepared? No one I knew had a bomb shelter. Why?

But salvation was near... then, the Ambassador Hotel... shots... not again.
Crushed, I went on with the day that was suppose to mean freedom. But my heart was broken. How could we celebrate? Who knows what kind of president he might have been? In my mind he was the only hope we had... and now it was gone.

I sat down and wrote to Ethel. All those children to grow up without a father. I wrote how I admired him and wanted so for him to be our president... even-though I could not vote. She sent me a very nice note.... maybe an aid had written it but back then I was sure she'd written it herself, maybe she did. Weeks later I received a big envelope full of campaign posters, buttons and bumper stickers.
A few weeks later I was in Chicago for Art School. My parents dropped me off the week of the most infamous Democratic convention of modern time.

So today is the anniversary of that day. It makes me wonder what might have been.


At 12:23 AM, Blogger ConnieJane said...

If you remember and haven't already, be sure you see the movie, "Bobby." The memories that flooded back were incredible.

If you haven't see it, it is from the stand point of others at the Ambassador that night. Not really about the assassination itself.

Worth investing a couple off hours. Peace.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger alan said...

Tears in my eyes...I remember!

I had just finished the 8th grade and Mom drove me to Lawrence to drop me off at KU for the Mid America Band Camp. It was my first time away from home on my own. In my stuff was a copy of "To Seek A Newer World"; I still have it. She lectured me most of the way there; when she finally turned on the radio I heard a newscast...the world dimmed that day and I'm not sure it will ever be as bright again!



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