New Friends & Shattered Glass!

 

(Author’s Note:  This is Part 2 of 2.  Read Part 1 here)

Well, I definitely made some new friends and I certainly watched some glass ceilings come down in a bajillion pieces and it was all worth it!  To see my Senator, Barbara Mikulski take the stage and be recognized as the first woman into the US Senate (sadly retiring), and to watch my former Commonwealth’s Governor, who turned into a Senator, and who is now Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential running-mate, Tim Kaine, and be in the same “room” with them and 50,000 other people was incredible.  That’s so not the word, but I can’t find the right one just yet, either!

Wednesday evening, I was moved from my post in Suite 2 to Suite 19, still on the balcony, but Wednesday night was for the record books in terms of exciting nights of my life!  Our guests in suite 19 were just some of the American people who have seen the worst in America.  Luckily, they see the best in Hillary and came and spoke as amazing surrogates.

Angela Bassett introduced two women who were in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church on that fateful night at Bible study.  Grief into action.  Say their names. Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard and their husbands were in Suite 19 for the evening. I would like to think my teammates and I served up some Southern hospitality in the City of Brotherly Love for them!

Tyrone Sanders, after his wife finished her remarks, said to my friend, Jennifer, who was in the suite with us, “I was proud of her on that day, and I’m proud of her now.  I could have lost 3 family members that day.”  Gut-wrenching!  He was amazing in his lavender shirt which he told us he wears for his son.

Tyrone & LSR

Tyrone Sanders & Lauren

Jamie Dorff, who married the boy she grew up with when she was 21, lost her husband, Pat in 2004 in Iraq.  Jamie and her daughter, Brissa, were in our suite before, during and after Jamie’s speech.  To sit (ok, I was standing the entire time!) and watch Brissa watch her mom on that podium, that world’s stage, and just bawl crying was something that will rock my world for a while.  To get that up-close with the people who’ve seen and felt the worst is heart-grabbing.

Cap off Wednesday night with getting onto the elevator with Christine Leinonen and her only son’s friends as they make their way down and out of the Wells Fargo Center, where she had received a standing ovation and 38 seconds of applause mid-speech.  Honestly, really?  Is this happening?  I couldn’t’ stop myself.  I had to say something to her and while I wasn’t a blubbering idiot, I honestly don’t remember what I said, but she touched my forearm and said, “I did it for you, and I hope you never experience anything like it.”  She reiterated that the outpouring of love from Orlando and this country has been and continues to be amazing.  I didn’t add that my fabulous husband donated blood at my suggestion after seeing so many in line the next morning, but he did!

I had been joined by friends in Suite 19 and even made new ones.  The world is a small place.  A McEnearney agent and friend, Brett West, who volunteered on the floor with the Vermont Delegation, (lucky him!) brought a friend with him to Suite 19 on Wednesday evening and I was very happy to play hostess to them and witness our President’s speech along with them and all the rest! He didn’t bring Ben, he was just a crasher!

Brett & LSR

Brett West & Lauren

Ben crashed too

Ben crashes Suite 19!

Brett M-

Brett watching Barack!

Peter Newbold, a friend from Alexandria and the Electoral Board there, (since moved to Seattle) was hosting and assisting with the speakers and getting them from suite to podium.  It was like no time had passed when he walked into 19 with them.  Just good Alexandrians doing good!  What could be better?! 

Peter & LSR

Peter Newbold & Lauren

I’ll tell you what’s better, the Secret Service Officer who was “on duty” from as high up as we were, but who was still willing to take a pic (zoom & no zoom) of Barack speaking at the podium! 


Thursday I didn’t have volunteering duties, so I hung out around the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a bit, bought some campaign paraphernalia, saw Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. & had lunch with my favorite Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Honorable Adam P. Ebbin!  You know – a typical day! 

Hard to see the fun week come to an end, but I wanted to be home with my mother to watch Chelsea introduce hers and witness HERSTORY with my mom, who, of course, shed a tear or two watching!

watchin w mom

Ready!

There are lots of good people in the world, folks!

Happy August, Make It Count!

 

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Remembering My Friend, Judy!

It’s been a sad and difficult week to be an Alexandrian.

I think we are all living and walking around surrounded by a huge cloud of disbelief.

See, Alexandria’s finest (tho that still sounds so cliché) passed away on Monday morning.

Here it is Friday and tonight MANY will gather to mourn together in person, finally, and celebrate our friend, Judy.

Since I am out of town and unable to attend “the festivities,” I feel the need to take my in-flight time to write.

It will be “old home week” there at Everly Wheatley tonight and I would be lying if I did not mention that is where I want to be. Circumstances won’t allow for me to be there this evening or tomorrow at 4 p.m. in what is guaranteed to be a standing-room-only Del Ray United Methodist Church to celebrate Judy’s life a little more.

I wanted a venue in which to share my Judy story that was not a Facebook post or comment, so I’m using my blog to do so and hope that that will suffice. I know Judy was a reader of my blog and I think she would like this shout out!

My mother swears I met Judy at an Alexandria Democratic Committee meeting, but I feel like it was at a fancy dinner or fundraiser somewhere in the City. Either way, I definitely remember the intro. It went like this:

“Lauren, come over here you’ve got to meet Judy Lowe.”

“Judy, this is my daughter, Lauren, she just bought a condo in Del Ray!”

“Oh I know it, I could tell she was your daughter right away!”

That’s it, that’s all that matters. Then and there – I met her. Period. From then on I was a different person because I knew Judy Lowe and guess what? She loved me from the second she met me and I knew it!

This had to have been around 2002 so, since time flies when you’re having fun, that means I have known and loved and been loved by Judy for nine fabulous years!

I could probably write for days sharing my Judy stories, but I won’t. I will try to put just some quickly right here.

The morning after Sheriff Dana Lawhorne won the election, November 9, 2005, Judy called me and said, “come over here, I have something for you.” You don’t tell Judy no and so I went. Up the familiar front stairs I marched on West Mount Ida. Larry got the dog settled down (everyone there is always so happy to see me!) and Judy said “come sit next to me on the couch here, I have something for you.” Quickly followed by, “Larry, hand me that Staples bag on the table.” “Staples bag,” I thought, “what am I in for, exactly?”

Out of the bag Judy handed me an Easy Button. We both started cracking up. She says, “hit it,” so I did!

It says, “That was easy” and she said, “Wasn’t that easy?”

She meant beating Bill Cleveland and running Dana’s campaign in general! Too funny! She is the cutest and LOVED a good Democratic victory as much as I did!

I should stop there but I cannot. So many of my friends and I have such good Judy memories and quips and quotes!

Once upon a time Mom and Ruth and Stu and I volunteered to drive Judy to an event, a Democratic fundraiser in Crystal City. So for those of you from here, you know we went from Del Ray to Crystal City. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! Stu and I were in the back seat about to wet our pants we were laughing so hard overhearing Judy try to tell my mom how to get there!

“Get out of this lane, you’ll end up at the airport!”

“Put your turn signal on!”

“Slow down, this lane ends!”

I could go on, but I’ll stop, we’d be here all day!

Judy goes on, though. We will never ever forget her. Not when we’re on Monroe Avenue, not when we see someone without his or her turn signal, or windshield wipers or headlights on, not when we drive up West Mount Ida, never, “I just know it.”

I love you, Judy. I wish I got to tell you that once more.

Judy’s obituary & details for remembrances is here:

http://www.everlywheatleyfuneralhome.com/obituaries/tribute.html?url=http://stei-24561.tributes.com/show/Judith-Utterback-Lowe-92863059