Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remembering Geraldine Ferraro

One of my earliest memories as a journalist is of covering Geraldine Ferraro's visit to the University of Rhode Island in 1989 after she'd become head of the new Int'l Institute for Women's Political Leadership. I drove my white Fiero to the event which was held in the mold-infested campus auditorium where faded maroon-and-black carpet was made even less favorable by the low-watt florescent lighting.

With me I brought a Marantz pmd430 tape recorder, a microphone, and three packs of extra batteries--all stashed in my tan Liz Claiborne bag. After positioning the mic on its stand, angled precisely to the height I imagined Ferraro to be, I seated myself directly to what would be Ferraro's right. I imagined her right-handed, and, therefore, prone to looking right. I'd be sure to make eye contact, and be more likely to persuade an interview backstage.

As I moved left to sit, something under my chair reacted. I ignored it and sat. Ferraro began to speak. It felt like 1984. As she greeted us, something began to happen that I could not ignore: A giant cockroach darted back and forth underneath my seat. At first I just stared at the floor, lifting my legs up during every scurry. But an hour in, I kept my feet on the chair, hugging my knees into my chest.

I can't remember anything Ferraro said that night, and have long since lost the tape. But my memory of that night still makes me laugh. And Ferraro's acceptance speech five years earlier still inspires me:

No comments: