Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 – Good Morning, Baltimore!! Hairspray Jr.
Big day today!
It was the inauguration of our 45th President, Donald Trump; the peaceful transference of power took place earlier in the day. I had seen this before and whether it was a candidate I wanted or not, always marveled at the symbolic pomp and circumstance that is associated with the amazing event that is our country’s tradition!
And then, at 7pm I was sitting in the auditorium at West Rocks Middle School watching one of their school plays for the first time ever! When my children attended WestRocks, they did not do plays or musicals. They have been doing them for the past 5 or 6 years and I just never got over to see one! But, tonight, Liz and I saw Hairspray Jr which is all about one girl’s effort to desegregate in the early 60’s.
The politics, protest marches, and the idea of accepting others…people who are different from you…was the theme of the day and the evening for me. There was much to reflect upon over the day and the previous year of campaigning. To top it off I had just seen Hidden Figures, the movie about 3 African American women who were leaders at NASA during the Space Race in the 60’s. I felt like I was looking back on a time that I didn’t fully remember and yet looking for a time that I would feel great pride for my America!
Having been born in 1963, I was too young for the civil rights movement. Growing up in Norwalk, heading into Rowayton Elementary School in 1968, I did not personally know segregation and had friends of every color! I don’t remember separate water fountains, separate entrances to places, separate places for that matter, and everyone came on a school bus – unless you walked or a parent drove you! Sitting on the back of the bus was for 8th graders regardless of the color of their skin. In school, we learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. and at home we watched American Bandstand and Soul Train. The late 60’s brought a monumental moment to me and my country simultaneously. I lost my first tooth at Aunt Rose’s house while we watched the long awaited moment of the first walk on the moon!! (Too bad her cat ate my tooth! Another story!).
Tonight, on Jan. 21, 2017, watching these middle school students play the roles of Corny Collins, Tracy Turnblads, Link Larkin, and Motormouth Maybelle as they clapped, danced and sang “Welcome to the 60’s”, I thought about how far we had all come as a country! It made me proud of our country (aside from the rioting and protests I had witnessed on TV over the last year of the political campaigning) and grateful that my experiences don’t really come in to my mind until the 70’s!
After the play ended, we went to our friend’s house and watched the festivities of the inaugural events. So many mixed emotions in our country today. So many fear tactics being instilled and references about our country taking a step backwards. Yet at the same time, there was such great pride among the various groups who attended the many balls welcoming our new president into his new role that he would be playing on the air and off the air and on twitter!
I do not believe we will move backwards to the 60’s. I have faith and hope in the Tracy Turnblads and Link Larkins of this time period and the fact that this country is the strongest country on the planet. I do believe we will overcome the emotions in our country right now, stand together as one United States, and be the best people we can be. After all, our country is made up of very good people!