Saturday, October 16, 2004


My name is Herma Lois. This atrocity was given to me at birth, through no fault of my own. My parents had eleven other children and we all have the initials H. L. Since I was H.L. the 12th, they obviously had to dig the bottom of the barrel for names beginning with an "H".

My father was a farmer, back when a couple of hundred acres seemed like a big farm. My mother was a housewife, who scrubbed those old linoleum floors daily and "warshed and wrenched" her children's hair weekly. Neither had attended school for more than a few years, and their Southern Illinois homespun way of speech afforded a lot of good-natured teasing from their children. I was the only child born in Michigan and the only one of the 12 born with the help of a doctor.

No one paid much attention to my birth. I was a healthy eight pound baby with a good set of lungs. Most of the work and worry went to my sister, Helma Lou, who weighed in at about two pounds at birth and was sickly for years after. The story is that they folded a man's hankerchief into fours to make diapers for her and placed her in a cigar box on the door of the woodstove oven to keep her warm. As we were growing up, I used to call her "Half-Baked Helma" which would always inspire her to knock me across the room. Despite her delicate health, Helma had a punch like a prizefighter.

Throughout my childhood, my playmates were relatives...all neices and nephews who had been born to my older brothers and sisters. There were Charlie and Sis, Ronald and Donna, Betty and Norma, Buddy and Laorin, Donald and Richard, Eldin and Teddy...and that's not counting a bevy of younger ones. They all visited The Farm where we lived every Sunday, and we children roamed the orchard and took rowboats out on the lake. It was sheer joy, racing through the fields with my companions, much more fun than school.

The year I was born was 1930, and we were in the depths of a depression. My sister Hilda, when I had provoked her, used to say to me..."You don't know what it is to suffer!". She acted as though it were my fault they all were hungry. She said that, at one time, they had only oatmeal for dinner. And one time, as she describes it, she went to bed to die.

FDR changed all that, with his CCC and WPA programs. He was an angel of mercy in my mother's opinion and she worshipped him. Not so my father. Pop used to read Westbrook Pegler, always purchasing the Detroit Times, so he could read Pegler's daily column. He and Westbrook shared a mutual dislike of Roosevelt, my mother's hero.

I grew up, as fortunate children do, worked for about twenty years as a reporter and later editor on a small city newspaper, married and had five sons. That's it, in a nutshell. I figure autobiographies should be short and sweet, and my feelings on this point became even stronger after I read Bill Clinton's book. Not one detail was left out of Bill's life, and after 900 pages, I felt as though I, too, had traveled that road from Hope.

I admire Bill Clinton, however, even if he is wordy, and I heartily wish he were leading us at this very moment. After being enticed by Ross Perot's sense of humor the first time Clinton ran for office, I decided to vote for him at his second time around for two reasons. First, I thought he was doing a good job. Secondly, I did not like what the Republicans were doing to him.

I have never regretted that decision, because life was smooth during the Clinton years. We had a bright, optimistic outlook in America then. We knew Osama bin Laden existed, and we knew he was up to some pretty nasty tricks, but we didn't know he would turn our world into chaos and ruin our beautifully relaxed way of life.

We learned...oh, did we learn...and our President had a great photo op with a bullhorn and vowed he would get Osama, dead or alive. I won't go into that part of it, but you know and I know where it all ended up.....Iraq.

I guess by now you have guessed that I am not exactly a fan of George W. Bush. My vote will go to John Kerry, because if nothing else, I believe he has integrity. His mother evidently placed a high value on that quality, too. I think, however, it is sorely lacking in George W. Bush.

What kind of a son would become the President of the United appointment, not election...then hold a Convention and fail to honor his father, who was also President of the United States? Those diehards and warhawks who think Bush is so religiously wonderful should stop and think of that Commandment that clearly instructs each of us to honor our mothers and fathers. I think Bush has forgotten this.

From time to time, on this page, I shall lay out my feelings about what is going on in politics today. I shall try to do it without cursing or stomping or frothing at the mouth, even though I have noticed drool dangling from the mouth of George Bush at the third Debate, and certainly frenzied old Zell Miller splattered enough of it around the stage of Madison Square Garden.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herma, my mom used to tell me when you grow up not having much of anything it makes you a better person. I believe that, you care more about doing for others because you were where they are now. (Does that make sense?) Any way you turned out great and Im sure your parents were and would be proud of you.

You already know how I feel about Bush, we cant have this idiot for another 4 yrs.

11:35 PM  

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