Wednesday 3 January 2007

Goodbye President Ford

It is so strange the way memory works. Yesterday, I was called home from work because Sebastian's earache has taken a rather turn for the worse and was driving the childminder up the wall with his howling. I don't pay her enough to listen to that noise. I, on the other hand, don't get paid enough either but I have to do it.

Anyway, as I was stroking Seb's head (he wouldn't let me out of his reach), I had live coverage of the late President Gerald R Ford's funeral on the television. Pictures from the past were flashed across the screen and memories of my childhood came flooding back. He is the very first president I really remember. I remember watching him be sworn in after the resignation of Nixon. I remember those suits. I remember my mother ranting about Ford pardoning Nixon. And I remember him losing the next election without any understanding of why. I have first hand memory of so many of the historical events during his presidency and what makes it even more potent is that these are some of my earliest childhood memories.

I was saddened by Ford's death much more so than I was by Reagan's despite the fact that I actually voted for Reagan (2nd term). Gerald Ford seemed to be honest, trustworthy, dependable, and not really a politician. When I was a girl I liked thinking this man was also a father. I didn't find any comfort in thinking this about Clinton. In fact that thought still scares the hell out of me. And he was trustworthy. You believed what he said. This is not a feeling I experience with any aspect of the Bush (the 2nd) administration or the man.

I was really saddened by the sight of Betty Ford. She looked like her heart had been broken in a million little pieces. I can't imagine how you wake up to the next day after 58 years of marriage and find your companion, friend, husband is no longer there. I was also simultaneously inspired though by the way her children held her up. Their grief was palpable.

I suppose as I age these events will continue with increasing frequency. It makes me sad to feel my age.

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