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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99 Days!

This time last week I was fretting and packing and so excited to be heading to sleep only to wake up early and take the first train to Philadelphia!  Tonight, I go to sleep knowing that when I wake up there are just 99 days left until November 8, 2016.  99 days left to work, sweat, knock and call and get out the vote for the first female nominee for President of these United States.  A Democrat.  A Clinton.  A Female!  So so so exciting.  What a great time to be alive!

This past week’s experiences cannot be put into words.  I witnessed and was a part of so much history.  It was an amazing few days in the “City of Brotherly Love” & “America’s First City” celebrating history (my major) and women’s studies (my minor).  I wore my acorn & oak leaf necklace as a tribute to Elon!  (Long Live Elon!)  I wore my great grandmother’s engagement ring to keep her with me at all times, and a bracelet from my mother for the same reason.  Truly an exceptional few days!  I wouldn’t have been there without those women, Elon & EMILY’s List, where I interned my senior year of college.  Yes, that was the Spring of 2000, and my springboard on into the National Presidential Campaign trail that took me thru to Nashville, TN and the Gore Lieberman campaign where America originally (most recently) learned about the 3rd party candidate debacle that I hope does not rear its ugly head into Election Day & Night, November 8 of 2016!

You see, I connected (thank you, Mark Zuckerberg & Facebook) with my mentor, boss lady, official badass & Emerge Wisconsin’s Woman of the Year award winner, The Great Heather Colburn, and landed a volunteer gig with the Democratic National Convention Committee.  It only took a few days and an email to which I relied “Deal. Me. In” and, voila, I was tasked to serve as a “Suite Access Volunteer” and just get myself to Philly & find a place to sleep!  Thank you to both AirBnB.com and Amtrak, I was set in a matter of hours!

Monday afternoon I met up with my team (plenty early, of course, because you know I didn’t want to be late or miss a thing!) and became fast friends with several wonderful people and lowly volunteers lucky enough to be given the privilege to serve and be handed credentials not only to the Wells Fargo Center, but to club & balcony levels, too! 

Ironically enough, not one person (ok some fellow volunteers & some not-so-volunteers, but staffers) came into my suite on Monday night.  But to be parallel with the balloons suspended from the rafters was definitely a breath-taking experience.  It sounds totally cliché, but as soon as I saw the balloons I was taken back to Boston (2004) & Los Angeles (2000) instantly, where I had been in similar seats to witness history of a different kind.

So, yes, I was there to watch and listen to Michelle Obama as she exuded nothing but pure passion for this great nation and pride in her daughters, never mind how much she pumped up the crowd!  And I was there on my feet screaming and clapping when Cory Booker told us to “Rise Together!”

Tuesday evening, I was able to enjoy a few more folks in the suite to which I was assigned, but still not many, so therefore I was able to listen as every state cast its votes and Bernie Sanders handed the nomination off to Hillary Rodham Clinton!  I took a video. I’ll upload it soon.  It was terrific to witness.

Then, I was calmly able to focus on every word Bill Clinton spoke about his love affair with “a girl” he met in the Spring of 1971.

But right this minute I’m going to bed.  Sorry – more tomorrow!

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