Posts Tagged '1968'

The Birthday Gift: 1968

2020 is the second of two “most dramatic” years I have lived in my many decades. The first was 1968. Of course, I’ve had many personal moments that changed the course of my life (preview for next week’s blog post!) but for overall years, so far, these are the front runners. 2000 wins the Bronze medal but that’s for another time.

Everything felt spinning in 1968. If you lived through it, you remember it well. I was a senior in high school and it was definitely my Coming of Age year. Besides going to the new-to-Quincy coffeehouse to discuss the meaning of life, reading Kahil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” shedding the parts of my faith the nuns told us were no longer needed like St. Christopher, I was completely enamored by Bobby Kennedy’s run for president. At almost 18 years old, although I couldn’t vote yet, I pinned all my political hopes on his likely presidency.

I will never forget the morning my Dad woke me, June 6, 1968, to tell me of his assassination. I sobbed for days and couldn’t bear to watch any of the coverage of the funeral. My mom saved all the newspapers for me which I found in her home a couple of years ago. I never read them at the time as I was too heartbroken. Along with many others, my freshly budded hopes for the change I was sure our country needed were now dashed.

My 18th birthday was 15 days later and among the many gifts I received was a hand carved piece of driftwood. My dear friend at the time, Barb, knew of my devotion to RFK and painstakingly carved each word.

“Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?” RFK

I remember no other gifts from that birthday except this one. It became my most precious possession.

A few months later, I packed up my world to go to college. The log had a prominent place on the top of my duffel bag as I loaded it in the car. My father, who was not an RFK supporter, decided it was too big to bring, not enough room in the car, etc. I was horrified and we had a rare fight centered around the log.

Looking back, I now know fights between parents and off going college students are common and even helpful to ease the leaving process but my dad and I hadn’t read those books. We were at a standstill and each holding our ground. My mom finally intervened in some way I don’t remember but the log came to college.

52 years later, I still have it. In fact, it is sitting on my dining room table now where it spends every June in honor of my birthday. I have tried to contact Barb to thank her again but we haven’t reconnected. I hope she somehow knows what a treasure it was and still is to me.

The infamous quote seems just as relevant now. Glad I can see it often. I plan to keep dreaming. You?

Do you have any similar object from your youth that still speaks to you?

Hope for the best,

Tish



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