It was the fall of 1974, and they herded the entire school into the gym for an assembly. We had a big school, particularly for being in the middle of the US heartland. No freshmen at our school, grades 10 – 12 only. But of those 3 classes we had in the vicinity of 2000 students.
We had no idea why we were being pulled out of class, but anything was better than algebra so we were happy. Kind of. We had to sit through a speech by some southern governor. It held my attention for maybe 5 minutes. At that time, the political process couldn’t have interested me less. Not surprisingly I still remember the girl I was sitting next to, her name was Nancy and she had this exotic Brooklyn accent. But do you think I can remember ANYTHING the speaker said? A few years later I became interested in the political process, was a member of the “young republicans”, and a student volunteer for a few campaigns.
That speaker became President of the United States 2 short years later, beating out Gerald Ford, who was one of the candidates for whom I was volunteering. It was, of course, Jimmy Carter.
I now have a deep respect for President Carter. He wasn’t an effective president, but he is a compassionate person and a brilliant statesman, both are qualities hard to find in today’s politicians.
I wish I had paid attention that day.