|26 Sep 2004 @ 04:22, by Kay Simmons|
I got this today and found it interesting.
Deb: You were very cautious in your reply to my comments about Clinton. I would be interested in your assessment of him since your do live in Arkansas and have a lot of information that I don't have.
I really thought I had gotten away with that one....scooted under the fence and avoided interrogation. Well, dear me.....this may be THE NOVEL you were asking for. You see, I've actually met the man...a few times. Long before there was ever a "blue dress"...there was a Ms. Paula Jones (remember her??) I've met Paula, too. Her niece, Amber, and my daughter Alleatha have been very dear friends since the fifth grade. I'll tell you a story...probably not as great as Bill's and Paula's (they made the tabloids...I didn't)...but perhaps it will shed a little light on the subject.
I first met Bill...well, not exactly "met"...it wasn't like "Hello, my name is Debbie"...I suppose encountered is the better word...back around 1979 or 1980. Tammie and I both wonder what our lives would have been like had we stayed in California. I most certainly would have had purple hair, body piercing and tattoos. More than likely I would have taken up residence in some type of "girl's school"...pregnant and strung out on drugs. But life intervened. Instead, I grew up on the most "wholesome" farm imaginable. One had to be incredibly creative in their efforts to find new forms of self-entertainment. Judging from what I've read in TomStory , you experienced somewhat similar circumstances, too.
I was 17 years old when I finished high school. I could boast and brag and tell you that I finished the race in second place...as my class Salutatorian...but upon investigation, one would realize that this accomplishment fell short of the apparent miracle that one would have assumed it was. You see, the truth was there were only 10 girls in my graduating class. Five of them were named Debbie. They honored the right Debbie...but the odds were admittedly in my favor.
I wasn't the most adventurous creature. Your assessment of "cautious" would be more correct. I told you earlier that I came from a region of Arkansas in which no one had ever had the dream, fortitude...oh, yes...and the MONEY to go to college. The recruiters would come to the high school...and would often be discouraged and just turn away. Not to be boasting...but I was probably the first...in at least a decade that had actually both "entered" and "exited" college....with a diploma....Most usually dropped out after the first semester. It was a private college that I attended...not state funded....because the "cautious" soul that I was....I traveled a mere 20 miles from home. Not to feel cheated out of the "college experience"...I was a dormitory resident...and home every weekend. I paid a pretty price for that experience. Dad offered no financial assistance, whatsoever. I was on my own. Later, when I had shown I was in it for the long haul...he engaged in some "cattle trading." I paid $404 for a huge black cow--which I affectionately named "Debbo." Every spring old Debbo would have a calf...I would sell it at auction...and make a payment to the college to avoid jail.
I, like you, did not inherit John Edgar's gift for mathematics....and to make matters worse, my high school only offered "Beans and Taters" math. Everything a good farm girl would ever need in life. No chemistry, physics, or Trigonometry. At $450 a "pop"...back then, that was nothing short of a BANG*# ----I had to forfeit summer vacation(s) and shell out over $1000 for a 3 hour college credit for my Algebra requirement.
Not only did I enter college "cautious"...but I was the most incredibly naive young lady imaginable. The year prior, I had gone on a high school graduation trip to California with Becky. This was the last time I was ever in California. Becky and I were standing in line at Disneyland...and I heard the phrase "Blonde Bombshell." I turned to see..it was ten years later before I finally figured out where she had been standing. I was never interested in "fellows"...never been on a "real date"...and you can definitely read "everything" into that statement. I never understood how guys "knew"...but they did. I quickly learned that I had become a "quest"...for every red blooded Arkansas Farm Boy on that Campus. So, I did what any girl in my situation would do...I lived a double life. I pretended I was "a player"...but told everyone that I was taken already. I even attended a Fraternity Costume Party dressed as a Playboy Bunny....little tail and all. I was a late bloomer...in every sense of the word. That little tail was the perfect accessory for my "little everything else."
I don't think I gained from college what was intended. I was verbally abused by an instructor...to the point my mother sought legal help. She had thrown chalk at me in the classroom...screamed she "wanted to kill me"...and forbid the other students from letting me participate in their study groups. She told me I was "achieving poorly"...although I had a "B" in her class...and would never live to see a career in the Air Force...as I had dreamed of. In otherwords, she told me I wouldn't amount to anything. I would not have been believed, had the chemistry teacher not been having a board meeting in the next room late one evening ..during a particularly "rough" attack. The adults who overheard the encounter were horrified...they knew who the teacher was...but never the student....you see, they told me later that they didn't want to cause me any further pain or embarrassment...and this was probably the only time in my entire life that my mouth remained shut....I just only sobbed..AND I SAID NOTHING. She joked before the class that those who "Couldn't Cut the Mustard"...would just end up working at McDonald's. I'm not sure what I learned...or why that lesson was even necessary in the first place. I'm 43 years old now...and I still carry the scars and low self esteem of having gone through that ordeal.
So here I was, both naive and battered when I was first approached by my college advisor.
He told me that he had an "offer" I just simply couldn't refuse....an "Opportunity"...he told me.
In those days, students were given odd jobs around the campus...as a means of making extra money for college. The college faculty had been informed that an important individual would be visiting the campus...for a fundraiser...and the mission was to find any and all "suitable" young ladies to cater the event. Pretty dresses...nice crisp white hostess jackets...smiles, smiles and more smiles....and shiny sterling silver coffee carafes. I was one of the "CHOSEN" ones.....This was the perfect salve for my suffering self esteem...
Enter Bill Clinton...
I have never experienced such an atmosphere before. This was a man who was in his 30's..and merely the Governor of the State of Arkansas. What charisma he had....what awe I had. To see people responding to another human being in such a fashion..it was so thick in there...it could have been sliced with a knife. The man..even then...had an entourage with him...and an air about him. As young, innocent and naive as I was at the time...I was able to recognize that "something big" was taking place. It must have been that he was being "groomed" for the presidency.
This wasn't my first encounter with the man, however. I had been selected to attend a "political convention" for young ladies at the end of my junior year in High School. I'm not sure if you are familiar with this forum... "Girls State"??? as it was called. We young ladies were introduced to numerous politicians through out our stay at this convention. We set up mock governments...discussed politics..and learned to develop leadership abilities. Well, that was the intent anyway....I learned to follow...not lead. This is my first memory of Bill Clinton.
Even then...he was already "special." Still, "wet behind the ears"...I wasn't exactly sure why he was "special"...but Darling Debbie, the follower that she was, ran with the crowd of screaming and yelling 16 and 17 year old girls..who were chasing this poor fellow without end. Nothing had "bloomed" on this poor girl (yet)...but it can be said that at 5'10"...I definitely had legs. They came in rather handy at the time...and my legs even gained me the coveted prize of getting to tote the "Silver Coffee Carafe" later in college.Due to good genetics.. I was able to outrun the crowd of young ladies...and make my way all the way to the front..as Bill Clinton was attempting to "escape." I chased the man...as he was being driven off...and I was so determined that I would just "TOUCH" him...I just had to touch him. Growing up on a farm, I had had the opportunity to touch many things (never a Turkey)...but to go home and get to say that I had touched Bill Clinton.....wouldn't that just have been the gravy on the giblets??? Well, alas....life interevened. I'm not sure if I ever touched the man....my fingers were instead rolled up into his car window. Here I was running along, clicking my camera with one hand...while the other was engaged in his car window..
I haven't a clue as to what may have happened to those photographs...they were left at my mother's house during my college years. Obviously, they never surfaced. Thus, I missed my opportunity at fame at fortune....a personal injury lawsuit.....and the TABLOIDS.
Later in life, when the opportunity presented itself, I voted for Bill Clinton. For Governor of Arkansas...and then later, again..for President. I probably share the same sentiment as many in America who are unable to shake the image of the "Blue Dress." Bill's trouble go beyond the blue dress...'less we forget. There's the matter of Jennifer Flowers...and Paula Jones, too. Alleatha repeatedly told me about her friend Amber's Aunt Paula. I just was slow to make the connection. I was working as a "substitute" nurse at one of the nearby elementary schools...when Paula came waltzing in. Honestly, I didn't recognize her.She is the teeny-tinyest lady ever...and she definitely speaks with a Southern Twang. The irony of the situation was...this was the same time frame that she was having that Boxing Match on TV with Tonya Harding the Ice Skater. During the evening news was when I recognized that I had been talking to Paula. When Rick retired form the Air Force...we drove numerous neighborhoods (tearfully) trying to locate a home we could afford. We found the cutest "little"..well, not exactly "Little" yellow house....a dollhouse...with white porch railing. It's just around the corner ..and a few miles from where we actually ended up living. We had to "down size" just a wee bit....We got us a house with white porch railing, too.....But, MISS PAULA got the yellow house. I know you've never toilet papered a house at Halloween...neither have I....but I had to fight this incredibly strong urge to not sneak into her yard in the middle of the night and place a sign in her yard that read "THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT BILL BOUGHT." I felt just slightly cheated...had fate worked in the other direction...he would have bought me a house, too.
All good things come to an end, they say....Bill had to leave the "Big House" he had grown to love. Of course, Hillary wanted a new house, too. So as time would tell...Bill bought her one, too.....in New York. Yes, I suppose it must be said...that in spite of Bill's Dry Cleaning Dilemmas (or lack thereof)...he managed to run a pretty good race. To think that I started out my life..so innocent and naive...I definitely have managed to develop opinions...thanks to my life's experiences.
A few things concern me...but in all fairness....they do say that hindsight is 20/20. Rick and I were stationed in Germany for a portion of the "Clinton Years." Rick had the opportunity to travel to various countries...from Germany. One such adventure led him into the United Arab Emirate / Saudi Arabia. This was, of course, before 9/11...but it is shocking to think that the scheme was already in it's infancy. Rick and I suppose that we innocently passed by the "Homberg, Germany" residence of the highjackers...as they sat up there planning our fates. After Rick left the Arabs...it wasn't much later...the Khobar Towers were bombed. I was able to put a face on "only one" of the men that died there...and I will never forget the phone call I recieved..his name was Jeremy. Rick had been near the Khobar Towers..it sends shudders and chills down one's spine. Later, it was the USS Cole...the Embassy....and to think...they even "practiced" once before on the World Trade Center.
Apparently we were being chipped away at with an ice pick....and we didn't even recognize the danger. I would venture to say that the majority of Americans at that time had never even heard of Jihad...or Al Qaida. We probably would have been hard pressed to have located either Iraq or Iran on a map. Shocking to think that we had such a mortal enemy...and didn't even know it??? Beyond the "Blue Dress"...the horrible legacy that it is in itself...stands out in my mind the issue of National Security. How many unheeded warnings...and missed opportunities were there??. What was the Clinton Administration doing???? We could have had Sadam Hussein in Gulf War #1....but that would have been the responsibility of Bush #1...not our Boy Bill. To this day...I have never understood that. Yes, I voted for Bush 1. If I must tell the truth, I voted for Bush 2, as well.
I was never impressed with Al Gore...and I was rationalizing...that I wasn't actually voting for "W"...but rather for Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. I reasoned that "W" was probably really wet behind the ears. I wonder if I would have even voted for "HIM"...but his father (who he could go to for advice??) was seasoned. Bush Dad at least knew who our enemies were...or at least I hoped (by this time) he did. I would have given Schwarzkopff a cabinet position, too...Colin Powell...Dick Cheney....all of them. Then I would have gone to bed at night...not afraid someone might be under the bed.
I regret that our National Security has deteriorated to the state that it is in. In my view...remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs??.....we must be safe.
I don't have a lot of faith in John Kerry's abilities. I haven't a clue as to who his cabinet members or advisor's would be....not really even clear on what his plan and strategy would be. Our national security is a huge issue...for us all. It strikes on a rather personal level, too.....Rick's two children serve(d) in Iraq...25 year old Carrie...mother of a 3 year old...military Police Woman...and James, father of a six year old.. a Medic. They are both in the Arkansas National Guard.
I don't know...is this what you were asking?? interested in knowing??
Or did I scoot under the fence again??
This will, at least, give you something to chew on for a while.
I'm sure Bill's Book is Better...but I'm not done living yet.
My book is still being written...
ps.."Deb Deb"--I like that... Makes me feel as I've been accepted. I considered even calling you "TOM TOM"