I spent a few minutes reading the long list of Geraldine Ferraro‘s accomplishments after hearing of her death today and realized that I barely knew her. Many people probably didn’t and that’s understandable. But for many years I felt a special connection to Ferraro and Walter Mondale, the man who picked her to be the first female VP candidate on a major ticket.
I’m still proud to say I was the campaign manager for Mondale/Ferraro at Cherry Street Elementary School in Troy, Alabama. I don’t remember the final count but I clearly remember that my campaign failed. We lost in a landslide. It seems there was nothing I could do in fifth grade to turn tide that had built nationally for the Reagan/Bush ticket.
I know my parents supported Ronald Reagan and they must have been bemused by my support for the Democrats. I can’t remember now whether I asked to run the Mondale/Ferraro campaign or whether I was assigned the task. I do know that I took to job with gusto. We read and clipped articles from Time and Newsweek. We made posters to post around the school.
The memories are hazy, to be sure, but I do remember being disappointed. I remember my TAG teacher, Ms. Susan Rainey, telling me it was OK that I gave it my best. That’s what counts. I suppose that was a fine lesson to learn at 10.
That campaign introduced me to journalism and politics. I still have a passion for both.
R.I.P. Ms. Ferraro. Thanks for inspiring my as a kid. And thanks for taking tough shots during that campaign. It’s never easy breaking barriers.