words that resonate……

The Year of Living Nonjudgmentally at http://annkoplow.wordpress.com/ offered the following sentiment, which I now share with you.

          The pain of the loss is directly related to the importance of the connection. 

John F. Kennedy died fifty years ago today.

Where were you when the bullet cut short his life?

I was in school with my fellow classmates at St. Anthony Girl’s School in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii.

English: Posthumous official presidential port...

English: Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously I knew nothing of the President except for what I saw of him on our black-and-white television set. His Hollywood-good-looks probably affected me the way it did every other red-blooded girl, American or not. He was hot!

Of course there was more to JFK than his rakish, matinee idol looks. 

With his words, sincerely spoken, the President touched our souls. All the outer trappings of his life melted away.

          Here  was a man, walking the beach. Head bowed, deep in thought.

          Here  was a father, scooping up 2 adoring children into his huge embrace.

          Here  was a husband, given to faults not unlike other husbands.

          Here  was a son, trying to measure up to standards set in stone.

          Here  was a brother, beloved by siblings and in-laws alike.

          Here  was an uncle, setting an example of public service for later generations to come.

          Here  was a friend, one who laughed, who cajoled, who pulled rank, who was loyal.

          Here  was a soldier who thought nothing about his own life in order to save others.

Here was my president, who dreamed of a country in which all served for the good of one another.

…the loss still resonates…

………hugmamma.JFK

role model…you’ll be surprised!

I borrowed this from blogger friend Jo, Chronicles of Illusion at http://jobryantz.wordpress.com/

Jo’s one of the very few Aussies I know. If she’s what they’re like Down Under, then those folks…live life large… and they don’t care who knows it.

The following is an example of Jo’s humor.

Who’s Your Role Model for 2013?

This is fun. I promise you WILL laugh when you find the identity of your role model.

NO CHEATING! I was really surprised to find out the name of my role model. Don’t scroll down yet….

To find the identity of your personal role model, do the maths below…

Then scroll down to find your hero.

It is crazy how accurate this is!

NO PEEKING!

1.) Pick your favourite number between 1-9

2.) Multiply by 3

3.) Add 3

4.) Then again multiply by 3… I’ll wait if you need a calculator

5.) You’ll get a 2 or 3 digit number

6.) Add the digits together

NOW SCROLL DOWN

And with that number, see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:

1. Einstein

2. Queen Elizabeth

3. Snoopy

4. Bill Clinton

5. Mrs Brown

6. Gandhi

7. Barack Obama

8. Winston Churchill

9. Hugmamma

10. Jack Kennedy

I know, I know…. I just have that effect on people.

P.S. Stop picking different numbers!

I AM YOUR IDOL, JUST DEAL WITH IT!

…hugs to jo…for making my year!!!…Nashville 09-2010 00023

………hugmamma.

…my son…

I’m certain I speak collectively for many Hawaiian mothers, especially those like me without sons of our own.

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack Obama makes me proud.

He may not have the blood of my Hawaiian ancestors coursing through his veins. What he does have…is the aloha spirit… which envelopes all…as ohana…family.

I don’t profess to speak for all islanders of my native land. I can only speak what’s in my own heart.

Barack Obama loves his family…his country…and all those who share in his passion for both.

Barack Obama goes about his work without the fanfare of his powerful Office.

Barack Obama does not gladhand…or backslap…or coo sweet nothings in the ears of his challengers.

Barack Obama invites all to sit down at the table, knowing that is the way of a good host. Remembering all the while that he is…the host under whose roof all sit. As such, it is his duty to uphold the…law of the land in justice…and concern for those who are the least among us.

Barack Obama took up that for which he was destined…the Presidency of the United States. He did not flinch in his duty to his fellow Americans. No obstacle was too great that he could not overcome.

Barack Obama is a son of Hawaii. No piece of paper can substitute for the acceptance of a woman born and raised on Maui.

Barack Obama is Hawaii’s son…and therefore…my son.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…what mother…wouldn’t be proud…………hugmamma.

a personal experience…voting…

The news is flooded with coverage of both presidential candidates, Obama and Romney. And there’ll be no letup until after the election in the fall.

How we vote depends upon our comfort level with each candidate, as well as our own life experiences.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obama…the product of a divorced, multi-racial couple…a black child raised by a single, white mother in Hawaii… a child whose stepfather was Indonesian…raised by white grandparents upon the death of their daughter…college grad…public services worker…college professor…senator…U.S. President.

Romney…the product of a wealthy family comfortably ensconced in white society…college grad…businessman…governor…businessman.

Each man’s background and experiences define his candidacy. It’s unlikely he will shift away from the path he’s traveled.

Obama is mired in the morass of humankind as he struggles to lead. Romney won’t tolerate struggle. He’ll lead, even if it means a takeover. 

…your experiences…your choice…

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

………hugmamma.

details…little known facts

Secret Service agents in response at the assas...

Image via Wikipedia

In summing up what I’ve learned about President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan from reading I Love You, Ronnie, a couple of details came to light which I’d not known before. And according to Mrs. Reagan, only those close to what occurred at the time, knew. The first dealt with the assassination attempt on the President’s life 3 months after he took office. The second was an incident that probably caused the premature onset of his Alzheimer’s. Only a handful, it seems, were privvy to both occurrences.

Waiting for news, Nancy Reagan sat with Sarah Brady, whose husband Jim had also been shot in the attempt on the President’s life.

As we waited, I looked out the window and saw how, in the buildings all around the hospital, people had thrown sheets out the window saying things like GET WELL, MR. PRESIDENT and WE LOVE YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. Every now and then, a nurse would come and report to me on Ronnie’s progress. At first, the doctors were having trouble finding the bullet, which was a devastator bullet, the kind that explodes inside. One time, the nurse came and said, “We just can’t seem to get it out. We may just have to leave it in.” Well, that didn’t sound so good to me. And then another time, she said, “They’ve found it, but the doctor is having a hard time removing it–it keeps slipping from his fingers.” Finally, she came back and told me that the doctor had gotten it out, but I almost lost him then. The bullet had been lodged an inch from Ronnie’s heart.

We were lucky–we didn’t realize how lucky, in fact–because when Ronnie had arrived, all the doctors were in the hospital for a meeting. No one had to be called in. Everyone Ronnie needed was right on hand, and there was no waiting. …

I wanted to stay there all night, but the feeling was that it would be better for the country if I left and went back to sleep at the White House. Otherwise, people would have assumed the worst and there would have been panic. As it was, Ronnie’s aides had to do all they could to calm the country down. The briefings made to the press were partial, to say the least. The assassination attempt was really a much closer call than people were led to believe at the time. Everyone was trying not to frighten the people in the country, but the fact was, Ronnie almost died. It was a miracle that he didn’t. And I knew all along how serious things really were. …

Needless to say, I was terrified. After the shooting, every time Ronnie walked out the door to make a public appearance, my heart would stop–and it wouldn’t start again until he came back home safely. Ronnie knew how scared I was. But if he was frightened too, he never let me know it. As always, he was cheerful and optimistic. God had spared him, he believed; there had to be a reason why. By making jokes…he tried to take the edge off my fear.

The Reagans wave from the White House after Pr...

Image via Wikipedia

Who could fault the First Lady’s hovering over the President thereafter? No wonder her seeming control of his life, personal and public, for which the media liked to criticize her. I know because they had me convinced she was running the country with her husband, an unofficial cabinet member, as was constantly written and spoken of in the news. How the spinmeisters love to slant the facts. Readers, beware!

Fast forward to July 1989, after the Reagans had left the White House. Visiting with friends Betty and Bill Wilson at their ranch in Mexico, the President went riding. An accident occurred.

Ronnie had been thrown off his horse. He was riding with some other men, going up an incline, when one of the ranch hands had hit something that made a loud noise and spooked Ronnie’s horse.

The horse reared once, and Ronnie stayed on. It reared a second time, and Ronnie stayed on again. Two Secret Service men tried to move in and calm the horse, but they couldn’t do it. The horse reared a third time, bucking so hard that Ronnie fell off and hit his head on the ground, miraculously missing the jagged rocks all around.

President Ronald Reagan

Image by edalisse via Flickr

We got him on a plane and immediately took him to a hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He should really have stayed there, but it was my birthday and the Wilsons had planned a celebration, and Ronnie was determined to go back to the ranch. We went back–but at my insistence, we took a doctor with me.

The day after…we flew home. I was very uneasy and kept at Ronnie until he agreed to get his head X-rayed. We went to the Mayo Clinic, where we’d gone every year for checkups. It turned out that Ronnie had a concussion and a subdural hematoma. He needed to be operated on right away. It all happened so quickly that I think, once again, I was in shock. …

I’ve always had the feeling that the severe blow to his head in 1989 hastened the onset of Ronnie’s Alzheimer’s. The doctors think so, too. In the years leading up to the diagnosis of the disease, in August 1994, he had not shown symptoms of the illness. I didn’t suspect that Ronnie was ill when we went back to the Mayo Clinic that summer for our regular checkup. When the doctors told us they’d found symptoms of Alzheimer’s, I was dumbfounded. Ronnie’s fall from the horse had worried me terribly, of course, and I’d had to urge him to take time out to recover after his operation. But I had seen no signs of anything else.

There’s no telling if President Reagan would have enjoyed more years of retirement, free from the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. How fragile the brain, with only the skull as protection from the hazards of everyday life…like horse back riding. Spared from the assassin’s bullet, Reagan succumbed to no less a devastating end. As his devoted wife, and true witness to her husband’s last 50 years on earth, Nancy Reagan suffered Alzheimer’s alongside him.

Senator Corker greets former First Lady Nancy ...

Image via Wikipedia

…First of all, there is a feeling of loneliness when you’re in this situation. Not that your friends aren’t supportive of you; they are. But no one can really know what it’s like unless they’ve traveled this path–and there are many right now traveling the same path I am. You know that it’s a progressive disease and that there’s no place to go but down, no light at the end of the tunnel. You get tired and frustrated, because you have no control and you feel helpless. We’ve had an extraordinary life, and I’ve been blessed to have been married for almost fifty years to a man I deeply love–but the other side of the coin is that it makes it harder. There are so many memories that I can no longer share, which makes it very difficult. When it comes right down to it, you’re in it alone. Each day is different, and you get up, put one foot in front of the other, and go–and love; just love.

I try to remember Ronnie telling me so many times that God has a plan for us which we don’t understand now but one day will, or my mother saying that you play the hand that’s dealt you. It’s hard, but even now there are moments Ronnie has given me that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Alzheimer’s is a truly long, long good-bye. But it’s the living out of love.

Photograph of Newlyweds Ronald Reagan and Nanc...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

…blest by true love…even in the face of adversity…hugmamma. 

 

getting my mojo back…with love letters

It doesn’t take long to settle into the rut that is my life. I say that with my usual tongue-in-cheek humor. But after the last few weeks of unexpected twists and turns, I’m glad to be doing the same old, same old. There’s comfort and bountiful pleasure in just being able to muddle along…contentedly. Small things mean a lot at this stage of my life.

Cover of

Cover of Elvis in the Twilight of Memory

Half-Price Books at Crossroads Mall is where my eyeballs become the size of saucers. You know, cups and saucers. The biography section being my favorite. It’s always inevitable that a title or two or three will beckon me to buy, and I usually do. Books about celebs from the Golden Age of Hollywood, or singers whose songs got my foot tapping or my heart beating, or historical figures who let their guard down, always get my attention. Skimming the jacket covers I decide if, in fact, they’re worth my time and money. The titles I brought home tonight? Herbert G. Goldman’s Fanny Brice – The Original Funny Girl, Paul Alexander’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams – The Life, Times, and legend of James Dean, Elvis – in the twilight of memory by teenage girlfriend June Juanico, The Bluebird Cafe Scrapbook – Music & Memories from Nashville’s Legendary Singer-Songwriter Showcase edited by Amy Kurland, Mark Benner & Neil Fagan, and I Love You, Ronnie – The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

If you’re a regular to hugmamma’s mind, body and soul, you already know you’ll probably be reading a review of one or more of the above-mentioned books. But the one that most impressed me tonight was the slim paperback containing Reagan’s love letters to his wife, Nancy.

Unlike most of America it seems, I was more enthralled with Ronald Reagan the actor than Ronald Reagan the president. Not that I didn’t think he was fine, but after all he was a Republican, not necessarily my brand of politician, although I might’ve voted for him. Neither was I a huge fan of Nancy Davis, preferring Jane Wyman, the first Mrs. Reagan. But all this is ancient history, as they say. What was obvious then, and now, is how devoted the Reagans were to one another. That’s why I was intrigued by the book of letters. Following are 3 of the many contained therein.

July 13 (1954)…a.m.

My Darling
     The first day of shooting and like all first days I can’t tell you good bad or indifferent. Everything is hectic and upset what with the truck caravan arriving from L.A. in the dark last night. Most of the morning was spent getting the trucks unloaded and the equipment straightened out. Ben. B. is on hand so things can really get buggered up. I think Alan D. is trying to get some of the story holes plugged and this morning changed one scene “a la” a suggestion from “guess who.” However, our opposition is B.B. himself so I only whisper in an off-ear and let them fight it out. So far “Lady S.” is no help–taking the attitude of “who cares in these kinds of pictures.”
     However there is one golden glow warming my soul in this first sunset–I’m twenty-four hours closer to you. Last night was another one of those nights–just too beautiful to stand. So tonight I’ll probably be looking at the Moon which means I’ll be looking at you–literally and figuratively because it lays far to the South of this mountain top and that’s where you are. That takes care of the “literal” part–the “figurative” part requires no direction, I just see you in all the beauty there is because in you I’ve found all the beauty in my life.
     Please be careful and don’t get too good at covering your own shoulder at night–I’d miss doing it. Be careful in every other way too–nothing would have meaning without you.
     Now if two “Muffins” I know will exchange a kiss for me–my good night will have been said.

I love you
Ronnie

Newlyweds Ronald and Nancy Reagan, March 4, 1952

Image via Wikipedia

Feb. 14 (1960)

Darling Mommie Poo
     Feb. 14 may be the date they observe and call Valentine’s Day but that is for people of only ordinary luck.
     I happen to have a “Valentine Life” which started on March 4 1952 and will continue as long as I have you.
     Therefore realizing the importance of this to me, will you be my Valentine from now on and for ever and ever? You see my choice is limited, a Valentine Life or no life because I love you very much.

Poppa

According to Nancy Reagan “The assassination attempt made us realize how very precious our lives were. It made us all the more devoted to each other. I think this comes through very strongly in Ronnie’s Christmas letter of 1981, written nine months after the shooting.”

The White House
Washington

Dec. 25 1981

Nancy Reagan says her last goodbyes to the pre...

Image via Wikipedia

Mrs. Reagan 2

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Mrs. R.
     I still don’t feel right about your opening an envelope instead of a gift package.
     There are several much beloved women in my life and on Christmas I should be giving them gold, precious stones, perfume, furs and lace. I know that even the best of these would still fall far short of expressing how much these several women mean to me and how empty my life would be without them.
     There is of course my “First Lady.” She brings so much grace and charm to whatever she does that even stuffy, formal functions sparkle and turn into fun times. Everything is done with class. All I have to do is wash up and show up.
     There is another woman in my life who does things I don’t always get to see but I hear about them and sometimes see photos of her doing them. She takes an abandoned child in her arms on a hospital visit. The look on her face only the Madonna could match. The look on the child’s face is one of adoration. I know because I adore her too.
     She bends over a wheelchair or bed to touch an elderly invalid with tenderness and compassion just as she fills my life with warmth and love.
     There is another gal I love who is a nest builder. If she were stuck three days in a hotel room she’d manage to make it home sweet home. She moves things around–looks at it–straightens this and that and you wonder why it wasn’t that way in the first place.
     I’m also crazy about the girl who goes to the ranch with me. If we’re tidying up the woods she’s a peewee power house at pushing over dead trees. She’s a wonderful person to sit by the fire with, or to ride with or just to be with when the sun goes down or the stars come out. If she ever stopped going to the ranch I’d stop too because I’d see her in every beauty spot there is and I couldn’t stand that.
     Then there is a sentimental lady I love whose eyes fill up so easily. On the other hand she loves to laugh and her laugh is like tinkling bells. I hear those bells and feel good all over even if I tell a joke she’s heard before.
     Fortunately all these women in my life are you–fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked; “How do I love thee–let me count the ways?” For me there is no way to count. I love the whole gang of you–Mommie, first lady, the sentimental you, the fun you and the peewee power house you.
     And oh yes, one other very special you–the little girl who takes a “nana” to bed in case she gets hungry in the night. I couldn’t & don’t sleep well if she isn’t there–so please always be there.

     Merry Christmas you all–with all my love.

Lucky me.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

 I Love You, Ronnie should be required reading for men and boys everywhere. Maybe then both sexes would be from the same planet…Venus. Now I “get” the passion between Nancy and her Ronnie. Perhaps if this book had been published at the time he was president, onlookers wouldn’t have been so disparaging of her. But then again the naysayers would have probably faulted her for self-promotion had she made the letters known back then. Or worse, the couple might’ve been ridiculed for being more absorbed with one another than they were already viewed as being. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad Nancy Reagan gave us a peek inside her love affair with Ronald Reagan.

…always room for one more pair of star-crossed lovers…another Romeo and his Juliet…hugmamma.

o’donnell, Palin harbinger?

Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party’s latest winning candidate for political office is touted as a Sarah Palin look-a-like. Though the resemblance is not exact, it’s pretty close, brunette, attractive, broad smile, friendly demeanor, seemingly approachable, self-described reps for soccer moms around the country. I’m not a teetotaler or a Republican, I usually vote Democrat. But being a woman, I am intrigued by this latest brand of female politician. What member of our gender wouldn’t be. After all, Palin and O’Donnell claim to represent us ordinary people. While my inclination is more toward women like Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama because of their experiences and views, sitting down to coffee with these two wouldn’t feel natural or comfortable, but neither would I feel comfortable sipping tea with O’Donnell or Palin. 

What I find interesting about the recent turn of political events is how it might affect Palin’s decision to run for president. At coffee one day some time ago, one of the ladies from exercise class pooh-poohed the idea that Palin would ever be considered a serious candidate. I wasn’t so sure; I’m still not. While she may not answer questions in the manner to which we are accustomed, she connects with ordinary people who probably can’t offer glib answers either. I know. I may have a gift for writing, but I can get tongue-tied when speaking, especially when defending an opinion.

My thoughts are that Palin may be using these next couple of years to build a grass-roots political base, from which she’ll launch her candidacy. The Tea Party may be at the forefront of this reality. Obama’s election was probably the catalyst for this seismic political shift to the other extreme. Just as a black, Democratic president captured the imagination of millions, appealing to the emotions of many who cast votes in his favor; Palin is finding fans among those disenchanted with Obama’s perceived expansion of big government. Conservatives underestimated the possibility of a black president; opponents may be too quick in dismissing Palin as a serious contender.

The recent Vanity Fair issue chronicles a behind-the-scenes look, “Sarah Palin, Smears, Lies, and Big Speaking Fees: Inside Sarah Palin, Inc.” by Michael Joseph Gross. In a 40 minute speech in Independence, Missouri, Palin’s unfettered language connected with the audience. “They talk down to us. Especially here in the heartland. Oh, man. They think that, if we were just smart enough, we’d be able to understand their policies. And I so want to tell ’em, and I do tell ’em, Oh, we’re plenty smart, oh yeah–we know what’s goin’ on. And we don’t like what’s goin’ on. And we’re not gonna let them tell us to sit down and shut up.”  Voicing her views as though speaking for them, her listeners “believe she is just like them, and this conviction seems to satisfy their curiosity about the objective facts of her life.” Among others interviewed by journalist Gross was Colleen Cottle, “matriarch of one of Wasilla’s oldest families, and who served on the city council when Palin was mayor. She says she and her husband, Rodney, will pay a price for speaking candidly about Palin. Their son is one of Todd Palin’s best friends. ‘But it is time for people to start telling the truth,’ Colleen says. She describes the frustrations of trying to do city business with a mayor who had no attention span–with Sarah it was always ‘What’s the flavor of the day?’; who was unable to take part meaningfully in conversations about budgets because she ‘does not understand math or accounting–she only knows buzzwords, like ‘balanced budget’; and who clocked out after four hours on most days, delegating her duties to an aide–‘but he’ll never talk to you, because he has a state job and doesn’t want to lose it.’ This type of conversation is repeated so often that Wasilla starts to feel like something from The Twilight Zone or a Shirley Jackson short story–a place populated entirely by abuse survivors.” 

In years past when I was frustrated with how men governed, I’d share my feeling that moms should be in charge. For centuries we have been the primary caretakers, instilling our children with values. But they are not only future citizens, they are literally of our flesh, making their lives more cherished than our own. I surmised that mothers would wield power in the best interests of families, where I felt men reveled in having  power, period. Palin may have altered my thinking.

“Why are you pretending to be something you’re not? That is the question so many Alaskans have asked this year as they’ve watched Sarah Palin travel the nation. According to almost everyone who has ever known her, including those who have seen the darkest of her dark side, Sarah Palin has a great gift for making people feel good about themselves. Her knack for remembering names and faces and the details of her interactions with people–and for seeming to be present to the person in front of her–constitute an extraordinary power of engagement. Now she is using that power in a fundamentally different way. In part she is using it in the service of her own ambitions. …Those who once felt close to Palin have followed her public transformation with a confused range of emotions. The common denominator is sadness. ‘People who loved Sarah Palin are disappointed,’ said one woman in Wasilla, ‘because they found out that Sarah Palin loves Sarah Palin most of all.’ ”

I’ve decided that the best candidate is not determined by gender, but by what I feel he or she can do to improve the plight of our country. I’m sure everyone feels the same way, and so we’ll all vote according to our individual consciences, which is as it should be. But I still wonder what Palin will do in 2012, and if she’ll be a force with which to be reckoned.

tea party wins, foretelling the future?…hugmamma.