September 1, 2004

A Child's Memory

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been participating in an email list discussion on John Kerry and the Swift Boat Vets. After finishing and posting a long email on the subject, that I'd closed with, "this time, it's personal", it occurred to me that maybe it was.

A coworker, and good friend of mine, lost his father in Vietnam when "V" was five. He's a year older than I am, and we've often discussed how those years shaped who we are today. Between the list emails, and my recent conversations with "V", I think I finally realized just why John Kerry's actions after he came back from Vietnam seem to get to me on a personal level: he's a "face" on my childhood.

I lived in Berkeley, about a block from the UC campus. My father was Resident Manager of a hotel there, and we lived in. The John Kerry, and the men with him, on the cover of his book personifies the people that made my neighborhood a place under siege, a war zone.


The tear gas, the troops in the park out my hall window, the bombs, the evacuations because of bomb threats, the curfews, the riots, the smashed windows, all of it. When I see that photo of him and his buddies, I am reminded of a hippie like him who chased our van down Telegraph Ave while waving a metal bar, trying to catch us so he could smash our windows.

No, I'm not saying John Kerry rioted in Berkeley, or called in the bomb threat to the hotel that forced our evacuation, or smashed in the windows of the coffee shop. But he was part of the culture that committed such actions, and he doesn't seem to have any regrets over the part he played . Yes, it's an emotional reaction on my part, and perhaps not very rational, but that photo is in my mind's eye now when I think about John Kerry. And in turn, it makes me take his actions more personally than I would normally take those of a candidate for President. (and then I read things like this, and it brings back even more emotions)

Not any great insight here, but it is interesting how certain things are triggers for childhood memories. It never occurred to me that John Kerry would trigger my not-so-happy memories of growing up in Berkeley. I've often said that my childhood in Berkeley made me the conservative I am today. I bet Kerry wouldn't be too happy with that result!

(Not sure this was worth the wait, but there you go.)

Posted by Ithildin at September 1, 2004 5:12 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

Well worth it!

Posted by: Jay Solo at September 1, 2004 5:48 PM

Indeed, I second Jay's opinion.

Posted by: Bob at September 1, 2004 8:31 PM

Thank you, Ith, for writing this. Doesn't sound so much like the peaceniks were too peaceful, themselves, eh? Yikes!!

Posted by: Princess Jami at September 2, 2004 8:05 AM

Were you forced to watch the propaganda movie "Hearts and Minds" in school too? I remember being taught to think that protesting was the hip thing to do and would make me more cool...

Posted by: -keith in mtn. view at September 2, 2004 11:16 AM

I'm kinda the same way.

I can't get the image out of my head of W doin' lines of blow off the hood of some pickup at around the same time.

Funny how the mind works.

Posted by: sillyrabbit at September 2, 2004 1:49 PM

Can you back that W comment up, Sillyrabbit?

Posted by: Angela at September 2, 2004 4:43 PM

Thanks, everyone :)

Keith, I don't recall that. But when I was in 7th grade our choir teacher was a hippie and the songs we learned that year were Vietnam era songs like "Somethings Happening Here" (I don't remember the real title, but that's the first line)

Angela, I was thinking 'Rabbit hung with the President and did drugs? " wow! None of my friends who did drugs ever became famous, I'm afraid. They're all married with kids working regular jobs.

Posted by: Ith at September 2, 2004 4:51 PM


And wife Laura liked dope, says book

By Emma Pryer

GEORGE W Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David, a new book claims.

His wife Laura also allegedly tried cannabis in her youth.

Author Kitty Kelley says in her biography The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, that the US President first used coke at university in the mid-1960s.

She quotes his former sister-in-law Sharon Bush who claims: "Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either."

Other acquaintances allege that as a 26-year-old National Guard, Bush "liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine".

Posted by: SillyRabbit at September 6, 2004 1:55 PM

Please don't paste long URLs in the comments. Use the code to make them hyperlinks. Thnk you.

Posted by: Ith at September 6, 2004 2:22 PM

I know! Rabbit is Susan Estrich! Kewl! A real live celebrity is commenting on my blog!

A little late, I'm afraid. I read that article earlier, and it's only what Susan Estrich promised the Dems would be doing last week. Kinda lessens the impact, don't you think?

Posted by: Ith at September 6, 2004 2:25 PM


He's workin' to create some jobs in Columbia. That's something, I guess.

Sorry about the URL.

Posted by: SillyRabbit at September 6, 2004 9:42 PM