The Corner

A Cool Ten-Year-Old Head

In today’s Impromptus, I have a few words on the 1964 presidential campaign. The invective directed against Goldwater was amazing, as you know. A month after the election, Martin Luther King said that the American people had shown “great maturity” in rejecting “a dangerous Fascist path.”

Anyway, there was one line of attack on Goldwater I never knew about. A reader writes,

Your most recent column brought to mind a memory of my childhood in Maine. I was a parochial-school student in Portland, ten years old at the time of the ’64 election. I had not a political thought in my head, and my parents were not in the habit of discussing politics in the home. But I was tempted to hate Goldwater with a passion. Why?

One Monday morning, a classmate of mine was breathlessly preaching to all who would listen that, if Goldwater became president, we would all be forced to attend school on Saturdays! What could be worse?

But then a little girl in my class spoke up and put my world back in order. As she walked away from the conversation, she dismissed the controversy by saying, “There’s no way we’ll go to school on Saturday. That’s when Sister Perpetua has her bowling league.”