The Suitcase Lady


April 12, 2011, 10:21 pm

It appears as though I have become a pariah to 50% of my fellow Americans. Strangely, it’s the same old me: I haven’t changed. But to half of America, it’s now a sin to be a Democrat.

I don’t intend to change. Inside I’m still the little girl who listened to her father talk about being beaten up by the company thugs at the foundry where he worked as a young man. His offense? He was on strike for a five day, forty hour workweek. The factory owners weren’t Democrats.

I married into a Republican family. Forty-seven years ago, political affiliations were of little or no concern. My husband’s family were from a small farming community in northern Wisconsin, and they were more concerned that I could not tell a Guernsey from a Holstein, and that I would not be able to feed their son properly.

My husband and I lived on the unfashionable south side of Milwaukee for over thirty years. The south side is the epicenter for all things Democratic. Our monthly party meetings were held at Serb Hall which in addition to Democrats featured fish fries on Friday (both regular and Serbian), bowling alleys, a wedding hall and a bar. A sign hung behind the bar which read,”No standing on the jukebox.”

Our kids are Democrats, too. I think I know why. When we went to our monthly party meeting at Serb Hall, their Great Aunt Vi came over to babysit. They adored her and couldn’t wait for us to leave. Aunt Vi was on a par with the Cat in a Hat. On several occasions our meetings were canceled, but we didn’t tell anyone. Aunt Vi and the kids would have been too disappointed. We just left and had coffee for three hours.

Besides the fact that I was born with Democratic genes, I think I would have chosen the Party anyway. Democrats have more fun. Sure we mess up, fight among ourselves and air our differences for all to see. But we can also laugh with each other and at ourselves. Along with Will Rogers I am proud to say,”I am not a member of any organized political party…I am a Democrat.”

And for any Republicans out there, how can you hate a person who has to be told not to stand on a jukebox?

4 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    Oh so much to say! First, there was no way Chris or I would not be Dems. We were raised to be compassionate, to think about how we impact the world, and to live richly while not being rich. Secondly, summer Dem parties with all the grape soda I could drink were cool too. Thirdly, when you were a delegate in ’76, I thought that was one of the greatest things ever. Go Carter! Good man. And, we were hauled around on too many lit drops to not have in some way understood that active participation was important.

    Lastly, I never thought about Aunt Vi as the Cat in the Hat. LOL!!! Soooooo true!

    Love, Jenny

  • Mary

    Jenny! We were at the Carter Center in Atlanta last weekend to hear firsthand from the man himself about their work around the world for health and peace. We were mightily impressed and were hoping you might like to go with us next year to the annual briefing. We discovered that many families come every year. Unfortunately, there was no grape soda in sight, but I bet you would be OK with that now!!

  • Jim Smith

    You are not alone. From what I find, there are more and more Democrats each day. Walker appears to be a great recruiter for Democrats. His attempts to squash the Middle class and take away any safety nets the poor have while helping the rich get richer and richer are becoming more and more transparent to everyone except those people who have blinders on.

  • Mary

    Jim! I so hope you are right!