Eisenhower and Me

Eisenhower and Me

Is is just me? Or are potential candidates announcing their run for the office of President the United States of America coming forth earlier every four years?

In the previous months of this year, when the first person made their announcement, I immediately dreaded all the news and political media commercials that would be splattered in our faces day after day until November 2016.

President Eisenhower- Public Domain from Presidential Library

I can turn heads in a roomful of people when I mention that I once saw President Eisenhower in person and from only a few dozen feet away at that. I guess that really “dates” me. “Wasn’t he the president before Lincoln?” some teasingly say.

When I was in the fourth grade my teacher announced that we would get the next day of school off. Whoopee! The President of the United States would be visiting our little town of Chula Vista and we could use the day to go see him with our parents.

On the map of California, Chula Vista is the little dot located a speck north of the Tijuana dot. Within Chula Vista, the largest area of lawn to accommodate a big crowd of people was at the local Golf Club. For this special occasion, a temporary wooden stage was built, about ten feet above ground.

I remember the day as being warm with a beautiful blue sky and a few scattered puffy clouds. My single-working mother ran out the door calling,”You kids be good. Do your chores. Lunch is in the fridge!”  My younger sister went next door to play and I saw my big brother go off in another direction with his friends.

I decided this would be a great opportunity to see a real live president. I put on my best clean shorts and sleeveless summer blouse, slipped on my flip-flops, and brushed my hair into a neat ponytail.  I  cleaned the dust off  from my bike and rode down the street to the Chula Vista Golf Club. The ride is a few miles away so as I biked I checked out the neighborhoods to see if any friends were out playing in their front yards. Nope. So I continued toward my destination.

Amazingly, this was the time before elaborate security checks were done. When I arrived at the golf course, I got off my bike and walked it along on the grass lawn to where a large crowd of people were gathered.and there HE was, standing at the podium on the makeshift stage. With my bike, I inched up through the crowds to get a better view of this important person. Honestly, I remember exactly what I thought at that moment: President Eisenhower looked old and bald and his speech was boring to my ten-year old mind.

After a few minutes, I had enough. I carefully guided my bike out of the horde of people. About that time, the lunch back home in the fridge was calling to me. But not before I stopped at the 7-11 convenience store to get a cherry slurpee.

That evening my mom was in the kitchen busy cooking dinner. Over her shoulder she asked, “So, what did you kids do today?” My sister replied she played with Janice. My brother said he and his friends worked on model cars. I told her I went to see The President.

“Oh, that’s nice,” she said. “Do you kids want more toast?”

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