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Scribble one for The Gipper

June 6th, 2004 · 2 Comments

My strongest memory of Ronald Reagan, the one that came most immediate to mind when I heard about his death, happened in elementary school. That year our assignment was to write a page in our journal each morning. I remember writing about the assassination attempt on Reagan. It was a strange year. John Lennon had been killed. The following spring the president and then the Pope were attacked. I was old enough to begin to realize that the world was not a safe place. Grown-ups were not immortal gods. Even the Pope and president could get shot. It seemed scary and bizarre. I also remember writing about his election that fall, pasting into my journal a picture of Reagan and Bush that I had cut from an issue of Scholastic magazine. Closing my eyes, I see the black and white clear: Reagan’s face came first, prominent and larger, triangles and angles, then the the vice president, like an echo or shadow behind him, both of them smiling, the symbol of a new America, a promise of hope and pride for a future I could barely imagine as a child of 10.

How I will remember Reagan’s death: More than twenty years later, I was reading journals, other people’s journals now published on-line and appearing in my aggregator, when I saw the news and felt a sudden sadness for an era gone, an era when presidents, people and grownups began to become mortal to me, a slice of my childhood, black and white although faint, but now forever ended, to be remembered through a fifth-grader’s sloppy cursive on a notebook page. As I scrolled through the posts, sitting at my desk, reading about Reagan, I thought about what I might write in my journal this time…

Tags: news

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Randy Charles Morin // Jun 6, 2004 at 5:14 pm

    When Reagan was president and I was a teenage, I thought the world of him. I didn’t understand politics. I was CDNian, not American. I grew to dislike him later in life. But today, I’ll remember that teenager that envied him.

  • 2 Katherine // Jun 6, 2004 at 10:08 pm

    I was talking with my mother on the phone when I read the news in my CNN breaking news alert email. I passed it on to her and she called it out to her husband. A chain of email to person to phone to person to other person. Funny how things happen in this day and age. I was a little girl when Reagan was president and no one had thought of weblogs yet.