Don’t ask me the year. I was just a little kid. I’m thinking it was mid-summer, 1962. I’d spent several months with my grandparents in West Palm Beach. Nana and I were on our way back to South Carolina, where my parents had moved the previous summer. I remember the trip because my decision to go home with Nana and Grandy was last minute, with almost a paper bag filled with what I thought I would need. The day after we arrived back in Florida, Nana took me shopping at Sears. It was the first mega-shopping trip of my life. You know how it is when grandmother has no parental supervision and takes the long-awaited first born grandchild shopping!
There was a restaurant Nana enjoyed, somewhere in Georgia, about 300 miles from WPB. She would leave quite early in the morning, the trip being 600 miles or about 12 hours. We stopped at the restaurant. In the lobby they had a television on, an old black and white set, to the news. Castro was making yet another speech. Nana was almost in tears. Apparently Grandy wanted her to head up to SC for awhile. He did not want her there in South Florida. They never talked about what was going on around me, but I new something was wrong.
While we were waiting to be seated, Nana was almost in tears as she watched the news. I remember her telling me that we were at one of those moments in history where it was possible nothing was ever going to be the same again. She told me Castro was a very bad man and had ruined many, many lives. She told me I needed to remember what I was watching. One day I would refer back to it.
I was just a little kid, but I remembered.
Today, while I was watching Obama’s presser with Raul Castro I thought about that moment. We survived. The world survived. My grandmother was right. The man she told me to remember made lives for so many people abjectly miserable.
Somehow, we managed to muddle through. I think that tells you something about life and the universe. We somehow manage to muddle through. If you believe, as do I, in Divine intervention, there’s a reason we muddle through – prayer.