« Previous  
 Next »

Nadworny: Abe, George and Me

02/12/10 7:55AM By Rich Nadworny
 MP3   Download MP3 

(Nadworny) Today is the birthday of one of our great Presidents: Abraham Lincoln. It also happens to be my birthday as well. When I was young, sharing that birthday meant that I felt a very strong bond with Abe. And that led, through a connection with our late, great Senator George Aiken, to what I call a "Rosebud" moment several years ago.

Rosebud comes from the Orson Welles' classic movie Citizen Kane. Kane's Rosebud is a powerful and lasting memory from childhood about his sled. Others might prefer Proust's Madeleine cakes, but I was always more of a movie guy.

My Rosebud moment starts when I was six. My Dad packed our whole family into the car one hot August and drove us down to Washington D.C. on vacation. The entire trip made a huge impression on my young mind, but there were several things that stood out.

The first, of course, was visiting the Lincoln Memorial. It took my breath away to enter that temple and to see my hero, my birthday buddy, memorialized in marble. I stood as close to his statue as possible for as long as I could.

The next day we ended up on the other end of the Mall, this time visiting the offices of then Vermont Senator George Aiken. The Senator and his wife Lola welcomed our family and gave us the grand tour. Of all of the Senator's impressive items in his office one jumped out at me: It was a pair of Lincoln Head bookends holding up a line of books near the window.

I stood and stared and touched those bookends and thought they were the coolest things I had ever seen. Even though we didn't even have bookends in our house, I imagined how wonderful it would be to look at Abe every day. I was awestruck.

There were other things that happened after that, like when my Mom got Bobby Kennedy's autograph when he was rushing past us, only to throw it right away when she couldn't read his illegible handwriting. But of that whole trip, those bookends were my strongest memory - though I'm not sure anyone else saw them let alone remembered them.

Fast-forward some 30+ years and I'm working with Green Mountain Power's Steve Terry and Steve is telling us about the book he's writing about Senator Aiken, and I share my bookend story with him. At this point, I'm not really sure they even existed. But then Steve says, "Oh, I have those bookends at home. The Senator gave me a box of stuff when he retired and those bookends were in that box."

It was as if he'd just said the word Rosebud. I felt like I was in that movie. I just kept thinking Rosebud. Those bookends did exist, still.

A small memory from long ago. But those simple bookends helped create a lasting bond between a President from Illinois, a Senator from Vermont, and a little kid from Burlington. Happy birthday Abe Lincoln.

comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter