CONNECTING WITH STRANGERS
National Airport, Washington, DC
A gray haired lady is escorted to the private receiving area where I wait with an armful of flowers. Adults mingle nearby dressed in their Sunday clothes. Several held cameras with large flashes and notebooks.
A hand on my back gently pushes me forward to face the smiling lady. I hand her the flowers and recite the lines I have been given.
“Thank you for helping the children of the world.”
She leans forward and shakes my hand. I feel the space around me fill with silence and then she is hurried out of sight.
I was 11 years old when I met Eleanor Roosevelt.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
“Once I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: “No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ”
Rectory, Catholic Church
A fresh priest opens the rectory door to admit us.
I have disobeyed my parents and am being delivered for judgment.
My parents are told to wait in a separate room so the priest can interrogate me.
We discuss my decision to leave my parents house and continue with my education.
He asks my permission to act as my legal guardian.
I feel safe.
Staring at the deceased newborn, I feel the homicide detective grip my shoulders and turn me to face his chest.
“You look like you could use a hug,” he whispered with a Texas drawl.
Thank you for allowing me to share.