Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day - Post #2 - Back from Voting

What a comedy we are!

My son got home from work late, my car is in the shop (again). We got there and then Jeff realized he didn’t have his ID. I told all my clients I was NOT working today but of course at least one of them has to have to crisis.

It’s the client named Dick. Ahhhhh irony how I adore thee.

Anyway – I voted. My son voted. I have some photos that I’ll post in a little while.

I got very sentimental and emotional when I hit the button for Barack. Silly – maybe. Human – yes. I am a child of the 60s - I never believed this would happen in my lifetime.

I know I’ve shared this story before but it is the first thing I thought of when I went into the voting booth and saw Barack’s name

It was 1978. My son was 5 and we were buying Christmas Cards at a Woolworths store in downtown Brooklyn.

Jeffrey was touching every card and pretending to read many of them. A little girl maybe a year or so older than him came over. They started to evaluate the cards together.

Jeff: Can I pick out some?
Me: Yes – for your friends at school
Jeff to little girl: Do you go to school?
Little girl: In the morning then Grandma picks me up

Grandma and I smile at each other

Jeff: There are no black people on any of these cards
(yes – more evidence that he is indeed my child)

Little girl (who is also black): There are no black people on anything
Grandma: They make cards for the most amount of people
Jeff: That’s stupid – there are lots of black kids in my school
Me: You’re right but I don’t know what to do about it.
Jeff: Well do something
(he always thought I could control everything)

Grandma and I have a little conversation about there being no dolls for black kids and other assorted inequities. She is a bit awkward with me. Then she asks the question I used to be asked all the time.

Grandma: Is he adopted?
Me: No – I had him the old fashioned way. Ya know black and white people can have sex.
Grandma: I’m sorry …
Me: No I’m sorry, I get this all the time and it’s exhausting.
Grandma: Tell me about it. I guess I just did something racist.

We laugh at our shared place in the world. More people should do that. We’re more alike than different.

Jeff: I don’t want any of these stupid cards – I want cards with black people
(he is also loud like me and has caught the interest of other shoppers)
Jeff: I hate this store
Little girl: Me too

I decided to end the shopping trip.

Jeffrey and I made Christmas cards for his friends. We got construction paper and cut out pictures of athletes and singers and actors and the few black people that appeared in ads.

In 1979 we were in a grocery store together. I was on line and Jeff wandered away as usual. I was looking for him when I hear a small commotion coming from the greeting card aisle.

Jeff comes running toward me with a stack of Easter cards in his hands. “Look, look. All of these cards have black people on them. All of them! And this store doesn’t even have back people in it”

I saw nothing but the look on his face. On his beautiful brown face framed by his huge afro (it was the 70s and I was militant) – he had dark dark brown hair but right along his forehead there was streaks of my color. Looked like a halo.

He holds out all his “black people cards”.

“Can we buy them all” I say yes.

He hands them to me and slips his hand into mine and gives it a squeeze.

He looks up at me – “Isn’t this wonderful”

It was.

I know there will be those who say I voted for Barack because he is black. Well YES, yes I did.

He is also:
Even tempered
Has plans and policies I agree with
Chose a VP that isn't a moron

And my list goes on.

Be back as soon as I get ‘Dick’ off my back – hehehehe – with photos from the polling place.

Scroll down for this morning's post. There are many who shared their voting story in the comments.


Matt-Man said...

Good story...Rock the vote, and rock the country. Shake things up and don't look back. Cheers to ya Di!!

leelee said...

leelee says HEY!! dropped by via Matt-Man. Love your Marriage Equality side bar thingy (Its OK it's only Love)...oh I love that!!.


Raven said...

Beautiful post. It's wonderful how times have changed and amazing that this day has come. I kind of wish I could have had the thrill of physically voting in person but I guess an absentee vote is as good as any and I'm grateful I can do it that way. It's kind of joyful to see young people (I have CNN on) excited and thrilled about the vote. How long has it been since THAT has happened. Eureeka! Looking forward to your photos.

Dianne said...

matt-man - thanks baby!! I often lean to the sentimental side (as well as the left) - when we got in the truck Jeff takes one look at me and says "Oh Christ, it's gonna be emotional isn't it?"

leelee - Hey!! thanks for dropping by - Matt-Man is my hero. I freakin' adore the guy.
Feel free to take the Marriage Equality thingie - pass it on.

raven - there was a older lady in the parking lot at the polling place - she say Jeff's 'Got Hope' shirt - I had dared him to wear it, he hates public displays - that's his father in him.
anyway - she saw the shirt and she sent her husband in ahead of her and she grabbed Jeff's hand and said "I'm voting for him too. I think he's wonderful"
Pics will be up as soon as 'Dick' client stops e-mailing me!!

Knight said...

What a wonderful story! I'm so glad I came here. I have not been enjoying this day so far. You just reminded me of what is really happening.

CrystalChick said...

It was emotional for me in the voting booth too. I was standing there, my choices made, the X's lighted, and I just put my hand around my small Obama button and held it for a few seconds and somewhat silently said, 'I'm soooo proud, so very proud to be voting for you'.... and then before the tears really started, I hit the cast vote button and left.

Ivanhoe said...

Oh Di, now you really made me cry. And I promised myself not to do it today...
Hugs to you and Jeff :o)

Dianne said...

knight - what a lovely thing to tell me - thank you!! enjoy the day - did you catch Matt-Man's sunrise video? Schmoop is hot when she says the 'O' word ;)
and come back ... we're always here for you.

crystalchick - hugs you softie you. we'd be a beautiful mess together. it is emotional though and I love that so many of us are feeling it.

ivanhoe - as Nana used to say - there are good crys and then there are not so good crys. this is a good cry :)

Anndi said...

That made me a little ferklempt.
Kids rock! You did good.

Dianne said...

anndi - Kids do rock!! and thank you! I was young and so overwhelmed most of the time that I'm amazed how good my instincts were

Linda Reeder said...

Beautiful story. I read it to my husband, who is installing a new printer. We're in each other's way. We both loved your telling of it, and your list.

Dianne said...

linda - thank you! that makes me happy.
installing anything is always so frustrating :)

Barb said...

You're story is amazing! Today, I had an overwhelming feeling when I cast my vote for Obama! I can't believe so many people can't sort out the "bull" and get on with putting our country back on the right track. All of our blood runs red, regardless of our skin color. I'm in the minority in my community and it feels so darn good to break stride. It's a powerful feeling!


Kitty said...

Well, shit. Could I love this post more???? I have to go post all the other stuff on my blog now that I wanted to because you've inspired me. (Though no story this good.)
And by the way, rental property managers are also always named Dick.

(ps - your son is yummy handsome)

Dianne said...

barb - it IS a powerful feeling. I am a lone wolf round here too - it's OK, I know what's right :)

kitty - thanks!!
and I love that I inspired you, that compliment means a lot to me

Travis said...

I did not know this story. Thank you for sharing it again. I can't imagine what you must be feeling today.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a WONDERFUL touching story Dianne...Your Jeff was amazing, even back then! I love that he finally found some Black People Cards.....How UNinclusive we bave been on SOOO very many levels.....And the truth is, White People NEVER thought about things like this, ever...They wouldn't even have seen that there were no Black Faces in any of those other cards.....! OY VEY!

Dianne said...

travis - that's partly why this election has always had the power to make me emotional ;)
back in the 70s I was still working on my degree and I was studying self-esteem in non-white children. a subject I know personally. when all around you denies your existence it is a powerful negative. just as it is to see someone JUST like you in a good place - I fear many white people don't fully get this because they've never FELT it.

oldold lady of the hills - one of the reasons I have favored Obama for so long, since his speech in 04, is because he, like many bi-racial people is exceptionally in tune to diversity and easy going about being inclusive. My son is :)

tt said...

One of your more 'moving' stories. Jeff is a wonderful son and human being.....not to mention a goodlooking-sexy-hunk-o-man!!!! :) Seriously!!!
So insiteful at an early age...not surprising though with you as a role model.
You're my hero!