Wednesday, November 28

Station Wagon Wars

There it was, look at it! Larger than life - almost braggin’!

Oh, yeah, I sure need someone to explain something here ~

right smack on the back of her mom’s station wagon,

a “JOHNSON for PRESIDENT” bumper sticker!

“What’s wrong with you, gee - has your dad gone nuts?!”

Boiling hot and indignant with GOLDWATER fever,

a second-grade friendship teetered painfully balanced

on a sidewalk of the civil arena.

Wounded, my best friend’s tears spoke a transcendent truth;

in just so many words, (of which I quickly took note),

grown-ups have a right to their political views ~

and little kids ~ don’t vote.

* My girlfriend Aviva received the brunt of my critical out-burst while her mom waited for her in the offensively decorated family coach..I am really glad I felt the sting of self-reproach the instant I saw my friend’s eyes well up with hot, hurt tears. I never brought it up again. I already knew the Lees were good people. I had been at their house so many times I could have been Cindy Lee. Her mom's 'West Side Story' record album was like the holy grail to me; I was drawn to the cover to admire Natalie Wood perched on the fire escape. If we asked her to, Aviva's mom would play that for us and I thought she was the most cultured woman on the planet. Our brief confrontation was definitely an early lesson in allowing others their own self-expression.

This was the infamous Johnson / Goldwater presidential race of 1964. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas ran on the Democratic ticket, and Senator Barry M. Goldwater from Arizona was the Republican candidate.

No little kid could have been more supportive than I was, reverently watching my dad carefully peel the wax paper backing from his blue and gold “Goldwater for President” bumper sticker. As a dedicated contributor to the Goldwater campaign, Papa actually played a role as a Southern California campaign strategist that I would not be aware of until many years later. At the time, though, it seemed all that mattered in the world was that Papa said Mr. Goldwater was the best man for the job. It didn’t hurt that the bumper sticker was so beautiful, either. I thought it was a lovely compliment to the rear chrome bumper of his brand new Benton blue tailfin Cadillac.

~ this is the title poem from the 'Station Wagon Wars' collection


two forks said...

i really like this one!

Bandanamom said...

These are all great Cindi, and I can expecially appreciate this one!

You know we get 10 kinds of crap for being the token liberals in the Stake!

I grew up with democrats and independents and republicans and John Birchers and libertarians and some people who were plain old NUTS.

I learned to appreciate them all I guess. But sometimes, when you're a kid, it's a shock to learn someone who you really like doesn't think the same way you do.

As an adult, I pretty much EXPECT it. :)