Friday, January 13, 2017
When President Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to Joe Biden yesterday it seemed a uniquely personal act. More like a precious gift from the family vault than a bow to history or the gold watch at the retirement party.
The President, in his final days in office, has been emphasizing how much he loves his Vice-President. "I found a brother," he says. I was reminded of Ta-Nehisi Coates' insightful essay My President was Black. He looks at Obama's "audacity" and success by looking at the boy raised by loving whites rather than by the history of the whip or fear of the uniform.
So, maybe Joe Biden, the scandal-touched politician, visited by early tragedy, was again the improbable white presence that gave us this special time.
When it's over next week, I wonder if Barack Obama and Joe Biden will stay close or go their separate ways. In either case, the connection belongs to history.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
President Obama is giving his Farewell Speech here tonight. I saw the movie Hidden Figures yesterday. Deep feelings of astonishment are welling up in me. Of course I knew all along that Obama was a "once in a lifetime" presence. But now it is getting to me.
When I was a young girl and my mother was away working, we had black maids who took care of us. They looked and acted just like the computer programmer in the film. Comfortable in her heavy set body and always nurturing. Competent. We were safe.
One scene in the film was especially powerful. The blond department head says something like "We don't mean any disrespect." The reply? "I'm sure you believe that is true."
Could one of those loving women who helped get me through my childhood taken us to the moon? I'll never know . . . and neither will they.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
I heard via my wonderful alumnae news chronicler that a high school classmate has died. I remember her so vividly. She was the pretty, petite, popular one. The ultimate wannabe of the ungainly girls like me. The girl who kept us in a perpetual state of longing.
She wasn't my first. There was another one in fourth or fifth grade. Several years ago I was at a business event. I was chatting with a woman and when she told me she grew up in Detroit, I knew. I expected if she opened her coat I would see her smartly starched dress. The frilly one that dazzled me then and still appears in my dreams.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
When you invite comments you should be ready for whatever may come your way. My favorite doorperson is a funny, friendly pro. We've been chatting for years. When I asked her how she was greeting the Trump presidency, she spouted some pretty strong racist stuff while embracing Trump. When I asked her if she worried about eventually losing medicare or social security, she said:"Oh, that will never happen."
I thought about the literature surrounding domestic violence. There's a lot of false optimism among those who choose to stay.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Now that 2017 is upon us, I've decided to conduct a "listening tour." The objective? At a minimum, to gather ideas about how to survive the Trump years; and, (oh, please) find out how I can help stop him and his cronies.
Friday, I had lunch with the ever-energetic Trudy. She says: "keep writing to your representatives on every issue. Protest, protest, protest." She was at the March of the Crosses on Michigan Avenue on December 31 and is going to the Women's March in Washington during the inauguration.
Tomorrow, it's lunch with my friend Margaret. She is an historian and professor. In touch with students and academics.
I'll keep you posted. We need ideas! We need energy! No depression allowed.
Monday, December 12, 2016
A group of us were talking about a couple in a bridge group who were getting divorced. The wife is disabled. "Whatever happened to in sickness and in health?", someone said. I've been thinking about that.
My Aunt Mary formed a bond with her future husband Irving in the visitors' lounge at Elgin Mental Hospital. Mary was keeping her sister company as she visited her son. Irving's wife was there. Death eventually allowed them to marry.
I met a man who told me right away that his wife was in a nursing home. I was certainly willing to be his friend.
I always regretted that Sandra Day O'Conner resigned from the Supreme Court to care for her husband who eventually didn't recognize her and was "in love" with a fellow patient.
And what about the people in Congress who are planning to destroy the Affordable Care Act, plus Medicare and Social Security? There are many more ways to abandon "in sickness and in health" than divorce.