Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted! 

Let me preface this with the story of the first presidential election in which I participated. It was the fall of 1972, and we were having elections at Lincoln Elementary School. I actually don't know whether it was the whole school or just Mrs. Harnedy's third grade class, but I voted. I must confess that I voted for Nixon. Hey - it was November 1972, he was the sitting president and Watergate had not yet become part of the national vocabulary. Oh, and my parents are Republicans. Oh well, live and learn.

Fast forward to today. The Girl and I arrived at our polling place (an elementary school near our house - some of our friends teach there) at 6:50 am and the lines were already rather long. We had dressed warm, but the lines had not reached outside yet. Once the polls opened at 7:00, we moved right along. We were done by 7:15.

After filling out the optical scan form (fill in the bubbles, just like the first day of the bar exam), I headed over to the tables where the volunteers check off your name before you hand in the ballot. As the volunteer for the section of the alphabet into which my street falls flipped through her stack of forms looking for my address, I realized she looked familiar. To verify my suspicion, I looked at her name tag. Yes, indeed, it was Francine Harnedy, that very same third grade teacher.

"Mrs. Harnedy - you were my third grade teacher!"

She looked at me, narrowed her eyes a bit and asked my name. When I replied, her eyes lit in recognition and she said, "Oh yes! And you had a skunk, didn't you?"

*Slight pause*

"Yes - we did have a skunk!"

This was the teacher who helped me out when we figured out I needed glasses. Back then you had to wait a couple of weeks before actually getting glasses after they were ordered, so she made sure I sat close enough to be able to read the board until they arrived. She's also the teacher who recognized that Middle Sister is dyslexic (though she was Miss McCarthy during Middle Sister's turn in class). I believe she was also Biggest Sister's third grade teacher, and that of at least one or two of my three brothers.

Thirty-six years and this woman remembered the former eight-year old girl with tortoise shell glasses and long pony tails, whose family had a pet skunk. She seemed quite pleased to hear that I'm now an attorney. Hopefully she was just as pleased that the sense of civic duty she instilled in me all those years ago stayed with me, as I cast my vote today.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:16 AM