My sister Cheryl's letter to our dad

November 6, 2016 • Posted in careers/jobs for people who are blind, guest blog, memoir writing, politics, Uncategorized by

Have I told you that one of my sisters is enrolled in the memoir-writing class I lead in Printers Row? It’s true! Cheryl chose to write a “letter to dad” for this week’s assignment just like guest blogger Bruce Hunt did yesterday. I was so young when our dad died that I don’t remember him, and I appreciate Cheryl for agreeing to share this letter to give you a glimpse of what our dad — and her relationship with him — was like.

A letter to the future or past generation about the 2016 national election

by Cheryl May

Dear Dad,

I know politics wasn’t a big topic of conversation around our house when I was growing up, but I assume you remember the last Presidential Election that you voted in on November 8, 1960.

Remember the incumbent, President Dwight Eisenhower, was not eligible for re-election. He was the first president affected by the 22nd amendment that said the president could only serve two terms and the 1960 election was also the first-time voters from Alaska and Hawaii could vote after they had become states the year before.

Cheryl's collection of campaign pins she's saved over the years.

Cheryl’s collection of campaign pins she’s saved over the years.

I remember people wondering if the Democratic Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts, a Roman Catholic, could ever beat the Republican Vice-President incumbent Richard Nixon. But Kennedy proved to have excellent campaigning skills that far outweighed Nixon’s experience.

I wonder if you remember the commercial that was televised from a press conference with President Eisenhower? He was asked if he could give an example of a major idea of Vice-President Nixon’s that he had heeded. Eisenhower responded with a flip comment, “If you give me a week, I might think of one…”

Both Eisenhower and Nixon claimed he was joking but I’m sure it stayed on voters’ minds as they went into their voting booth.

Dad, when people go to their voting booth on November 8, 2016, they’re going to have a lot more on their minds then whether a candidate is Catholic or if a candidate might not be getting the backing of one guy he was counting on.

First of all, we have a woman nominated for the President of the United States for the first time, can you believe that? She’s a Democrat and if she wins she will succeed our first Black President. Lots of changes since 1960, right?

The Republican candidate this year was never a lawyer, Senator, Congressman or Governor…. he’s a business man. We did have a Republican candidate who was a movie actor and was elected President of the United States in the 1980’s, but he had also served as a Governor of California. (Actually you may have known him as a Democrat because he switched parties in 1962.)

The campaigning of the 2016 candidates has included name calling, lying, accusations of womanizing, (excuse my language Dad) but groping and even possible rape. Needless to say, this is not a national election that you could have ever imagined, and I can’t even imagine what the Presidential election will be like 50 years from now.

Love, Cheryl

Marilee On November 6, 2016 at 10:45 am

Nicely written!! 1960. I was 7 years old. I didn’t understand all that was going on- but I do remember that it was an exciting time!

bethfinke On November 6, 2016 at 10:55 am

In many ways I hope the seven-year-olds of today don’t understand exactly what’s goin on, either…


Bev On November 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm

I was 5 yrs old and remember what a controversy it was to have a Catholic running for President. I’m afraid kids pick up on much more than we realize and this election makes it all but impossible for kids to come away with a positive experience. Love your reflective piece and creative style, Cheryl.

Cheryl On November 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm

It was exciting…..Kennedy even came to York High School to speak during the campaign.

Hank On November 6, 2016 at 10:47 am

Nice work, Cheryl. Will there still be elections in 50 years? I guess it depends on who wins Tuesday.

bethfinke On November 6, 2016 at 10:56 am



Cheryl On November 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Wow! something to think about Hank;)

Pick On November 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Way to go Cheryl! !!!

Cheryl On November 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Thanks, Pick:)

ojdoherty On November 6, 2016 at 11:27 am

It must be nice to have Cheryl in your class. Obviously the talent for writing runs in your family.


Cheryl On November 6, 2016 at 6:13 pm

What a nice thing to say….

bethfinke On November 6, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Yes, and that nice comment is coming all the way from Northern Ireland. I’ve never met Jen, but we know each other well from reading each others blogs

Janet Sterling On November 6, 2016 at 8:23 pm

Interesting! Going to share this with kids tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, they are well aware of how unusual this election is. Fortunately, they are more exited about another “First” president, rather than anything else.

Cheryl On November 7, 2016 at 8:25 am

They’ll be able to write about it in their memoirs when they’re “Gramma’s” age;)

bethfinke On November 7, 2016 at 9:24 am

Yes, and the likes of our grand-nieces Toots and Ella will be leading the memoir-writing classes!


Sharon Kramer On November 8, 2016 at 8:58 am

A good history of voting. Thanks. I enjoyed reading this.

Cheryl On November 8, 2016 at 11:58 am

Thank you, Sharon. Just think, the 2016 election will the history that our grandkids will be writing about.

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