Wednesday, June 4, 2008

he was my hero

When his brother was killed, I was only eight, too young to understand much about politics, world events, or the enormity of the tradgedy. But by the time he ran for the presidency, I was thirteen, starting to take interests in world events, and politics in particular. My father didn't like him---he didn't like his position on the war,or his views on Isreal. I did, and constantly argued with my dad about this.
I was sure he'd be the next president. I listened to his speeches and felt a surge of hope, hope that we could get out of the war, hope that we could come together as a people, that we could overcome the things that divide us. My cousin sent me a blue button with"Kennedy '68" on it; I broke the dress code on the last day of school, wearing it proudly pinned on a staw hat. Totally worth the trip to the principal's office.
I watched TV with my father that June night forty years ago, as Bobby spoke to his supporters, following his win of the California primary. Then I went to bed. Not long after, my dad came and brought me back out to the TV; "Senator Kennedy's been shot".
We watched the news and said the rosary (hey, we were Catholics---that's what we did when there was nothing else to do). He was still alive--maybe if I prayed enough, he'd recover.
The next day, there was another rosary at the church; I chose instead to go to the neighborhood pool, where I said my own rosary doing quiet laps in the nearly deserted water. With each lap, my fear increased----the hope that he would not leave us was beginning to slip away.
At bedtime, I made a final attempt, constructing my very own long, garbled prayer, filled with bargains with God. I slept fitfully, dreaming of coffins and symbols of death. When I woke up that morning, I already knew;
he didn't make it.
I went to the kitchen where I saw my mother, eyes red-rimmed. "He died last night", she told me. My father sat at the table, his head in his hands. "What's happening to us?" he said. "What the HELL IS HAPPENING TO US?"


Daisy said...

Fabulous post.

shadocat said...

That means a lot, coming from you...

Daisy said...

You're so nice!

I just tagged you for a MEME! No pressure if you don't wanna, but its about quirks. (As a rather quirky person, I found it impossible to resist! :P)

lisaR said...

just now reading this since i have day off from work; this one really moved me because when i watch about in on tv in a history special i get teary like i was there and i know if i had been my heart would've been broken; all this stuff that happened right before i was born really makes me precious rights and freedoms are.