Is there such thing as a Peace Rally flashback? I hope so, because I had one today. I was at a rally for peace on the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. There were many reasons for flashbacks at this event. (My husband served in the first Iraq war. I spoke at last year's event, as well. I've been to more than my share of pubic gatherings in the last few months.) I wasn't having any, though, until I bent over to straighten my sock. In that awkward position my eye level was just about right for a five year old. And that's when I flashed back.
When I was a child, my mother was a student at VCU and she frequently took me along to events. I remember the look of the Commonwealth Times' office in 1975. (I even had my own desk.) I've been hanging out in the VCU main library since before I could talk. And I've been protesting, celebrating, consciousness raising, and dancing in Monroe Park since the last time bellbottoms were in. Hence the flashback. Today's rally was in Monroe Park and when I changed my perspective to straighten my sock, I was back in the mid-seventies.
Unfortunately for me, the flashback was better than the present. I remembered more people, more music, brighter colors, and good food. Today was bleak in comparison. Nevertheless, I wish I'd brought my son. At 3 and 1/2, now is prime memory making for him. Maybe thirty years from now, when celebrating a generation of peace, he would lean down to scratch his toe and remember a younger version of me praying for peace. At the very least, his commentary is always a pleasure. ("Mama, how did he get that hoop through his lip?" "Mama, is there candy at this party?" "Mama, can I pick my nose here?") Now I know why my mama brought me along.