We moved five times in just one year. I changed kindergarten only twice, though. We finally ended up in some apartments right off Stelling Road where Cupertino runs into Sunnyvale. I sat at the coffee table eating lunch one warm afternoon while my Mom was ironing and watching Robert Kennedy deliver a campaign speech in Los Angeles. All of a sudden, Mom started crying, hysterically. Robert Kennedy had been shot. The world mourned again, the loss of a Kennedy and the uncertainty of an equal future for all. (excerpt from No One Cry Wolf)
As were many, much of my childhood and my developing values and even my character traits were shaped by a family that began impacting the American way of life and government, right about the time I was born. I was just barely a year old when John F Kennedy was shot; November 22, 1963. Ironically, this was also my father’s birthday. For the rest of my life I would celebrate that day with a candle and a tear. But just as the Kennedy family tried to impress and did the late Senator Teddy Kennedy delivered in his life, “even tragic events are survivable”, my mother taught us that hope is always greater than fear and happiness is truly a state of being deserved of all.
As I watched the service for Senator Kennedy and listened to the sadness that was overshadowed by smiles and laughter, as was the Kennedy legacy, I remembered a story mom shared on rare occasions, when one of us thought enough to ask about the scar on her nose. She would giggle and recount her pride at having been privileged to hear President Kennedy speak-
“Your father was dropping me off to get my hair done because President Kennedy was going to be inaugurated the next day and I wanted to look nice, even if it was just for the tv. Everyone was so hopeful back then. I was so excited. As I got out of the car, your father yelled for me to give him a kiss. I was in such a hurry and already had begun to shut the door so, as I stuck my head back in the car, and -I slammed my nose in the door. Your father raced me to the emergency room and I had to do my own hair for the inauguration.” Then we would all laugh at the silliness that you could actually slam your own nose in the door.
Even as a child I would cry whenever I saw a documentary or a tribute in any sense to the Kennedy’s. I could never figure out why I felt such a deep connection to them. Then today, it became clear to me. The Kennedy’s, in all their imperfections as humans idealize the true American spirit; A belief in a greater good and equality for all. The virtues that this country was founded on and the spirit of giving, kindness and love that the spirit of God is about. And despite the anger I have at times for the inequality still present, for the greed and hypocrisy often exhibited in corporate America and our elected officials, the vile and loathing expressed by people afraid of change, this is still America. I was born here and I will surely die here and I will never give up trying to be a better person and help make this a better country, and it is the inspiration of people like Senator Kennedy and people like him that give me courage in the middle of so much adversity. I will continue to cry and then light a candle, for you kind sir. Have a seat next to my mom- she will certainly make you laugh.