Monday, 21 July 2014
“I Accept The Nomination!”
By Vicki E. Jones
The year was 1968, and I, age 21 and a native and resident of Los Angeles, had spent the summer at a summer job in Boston, working as an assistant to a lab assistant at a biology research facility.
When the job ended, I traveled to Expo 67 in Montreal – a World’s Fair of several months’ duration - and then to Washington, D.C. to both visit an old friend who was working there and to see the Capitol and maybe the White House.
The day after I got there, my friend told me he had to work all day and gave me directions as to how to reach the Capitol on foot from the place I was staying. It was very hot and very humid outside and at age 21 I didn’t think about wide-brimmed sun hats or carrying a water bottle.
The walk from where I was staying took me all the way across town in the hot sun. By the time I reached the Capitol Building I was feeling dehydrated, tired and faint.
I walked inside the building, where a guard immediately recognized that I had a problem and needed help. He took me to the nurse’s office and she put me in a nearby room and had me sit with my head down while she got cool water to drink and some cool compresses to help cool me down.
Meanwhile, I was feeling sorry for myself because I had wanted to see Congress and meet someone famous. I realized that I might not feel well enough to do so and had walked all the way across town in the heat for nothing.
When she returned, she opened the door and I raised my head. I stared in utter disbelief at what was directly in front of me in that room: there, on a scale, was Senator Everett Dirksen, clad only in a pair of boxer shorts, weighing in.
The nurse turned her head and spotted him there and realized she had put me in a room that still had another person in it – and a very famous person at that! Obviously, Senator Dirksen was trying to lose weight and was there to check his progress.
Embarrassed, the nurse tried to cover up her error by saying, “Senator Dirksen, may I introduce you?” Senator Dirksen smiled and said, “Of course!”
When she said “Miss Freed, (my maiden name), this is Senator Dirksen,” I responded with, “I’ve heard of you! You’re notorious!” with a smile.
Senator Dirksen replied, with a big smile, “I accept the nomination!” and shook my hand vigorously.
And so my trip across town had not been a waste of time and energy after all. I did indeed meet someone famous and got to see at least a little of the Capitol, and I would never forget Senator Dirksen’s composure and his great sense of humor.
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