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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

true story

My family is 3/4th more-or-less recent immigrant stock (I'm 2nd or 3rd generation on both sides) and 1/4th DAR, with a little Cherokee thrown in for leavening.

Both my grandfathers were veterans. I grew up in the land of swamp-Yankee town-council democracy.



On Election Day my mother washed your hair
and combed it into a fluffy halo.
She helped you on with your old black coat
and took you down to the school
where I had had kindergarten.

There explaining to the nice man
that you could no longer see
and that she would go in with you
to read the ballot.

You leaned on her arm
shuffling feet that pained you
so badly we had moved you
to the bedroom closest to the bathroom
so you would not have to walk so far.
A bystander wept as my mother helped you forward.

You did not come to adulthood
as I did
standing beside your mother
behind the curtain
lifted up in her arms
to help her pull the big red lever.
Girls didn’t need to learn that
in 1912.



I miss the voting booths we still use in the Northeast. The ones with the curtain and big red lever, like private little temples to Democracy.

Interestingly, electoral-vote dot com suffered a denial of service attack yesterday, while it was showing Kerry with 298 electoral votes. Not, I'm saying that the two things are linked.

Of course.

Comments

Don't think i'm some kind of emotional freak or anything.

That poem made me cry.
Thank you.

*g* I miss her a lot sometimes.
Me too.

I couldn't help smiling as I filled in my ovals. And at the little girl there with her mother, pointing at pictures of the candidates (her mother had brought some flier) and naming them. For her the right to vote will be a century ago.
Wow, I love that poem. I just wrote in my journal how shocking it is to think how recently women gained the right to vote.

And my family has Cherokee in the mix, too! Yay! *proud* Though not me... I'm adopted. But I've always been so intrigued by that culture. I wrote my master's thesis on freedom of speech and press as a tradition in the Cherokee Nation.
Blurry-screen virus here too!

Harriet
Around here we still vote on the old kind of machine. Edgar Z. Friedenberg said they're telling you it's dirty because you have to do it behind a curtain, but just in case they don't let you hide the lower part of your body.
Yes! I've been saying some of the same things as your later post, about the value of a historical perspective in looking at this election (though I think you said it better). But I had forgotten this point.

My grandmother was born in 1912. She died in 1995, so her life isn't ancient history; it overlaps with my life well into my adulthood. Her mother, my Nana, was born in 1892. Nana didn't get to vote until she was twenty-eight, the mother of three, when my grandmother was eight. I *can't* think things were better in the past, when I remember that.
Yeah.

And I remember what women went through, to get that vote, and I wonder why we expect this to be so damned easy.

Today I am tired, though. Like Scarlett, I think I will think about this tommorrah.