Beyond the Bowling
April 3, 2012
In the past week, I’ve had the rare experience of hearing the geographic markers of my childhood mentioned over and over on the national news as Republican candidates campaign for today’s Wisconsin primary, circling, but never quite dropping in to my hometown.
I’m weary of all the bowling photo-ops.
Sure, some people bowl in Wisconsin. There were two bowling alleys in my town when I was growing up. One has closed now. My sisters sometimes meet their friends at the other one when they’re home for holidays or family celebrations, but they never bowl.
My parents never bowled, but my mother spent every Saturday morning taking her daughters to the public library. People in Wisconsin read, too.
Or the campaign could stand in front of one of the shuttered elementary schools that have been closed because of budget cuts or the remaining open school where class sizes are much larger and the school nurse has been pink slipped.
Or they could pose in front of one of the empty small factories where my niece and sister-in-law used to work before their jobs got outsourced.
Or there’s the local hospital, where I was born and my father died, one floor apart. It’s still open against the odds, though as my mother aged, her health care became more and more random as doctor after doctor came and went, finding little to keep them in rural Wisconsin.
It’s been great to hear newscasters speaking of the landmarks of my childhood.
I just wish that the campaigns were talking more about my people.