|God, President Kennedy and Me (page 4)|
President Kennedy is dead.
There were cries and gasps of disbelief. Nora Thigpen began to cry. I turned to her.
Its not true, I told her. I know its not true.
A couple of students cheered.
He asked for it, Sam Davidson said. He was practically becoming a dictator.
I think he was a good president, Miss Goldman and I said in unison. Was?
This proves that God didnt want a Catholic president, Sam continued.
Oh, shut up! I said. And then I remembered my responsibility as a possible future Miss Greenville High, and I added, Please.
I still couldnt believe that President Kennedy was dead. Reporters made mistakes. They were almost always wrong about the weather.
Dear God, I prayed silently. Let President Kennedy really be alive. Make this news a false report, and I will give up being Miss Greenville High School.
I paused for a moment. I knew I had to go further still.
Ill even give up being among the finalists. I added silently.
In sync with my prayers, Mr. Kirkley continued.
There have been some questions about tonights beauty contest. If this was a frivolous affair, we would cancel it. But its been planned for a long time, and the publication of the yearbook depends on the money we raise tonight. So the contest will go on as planned.
Last minute preparations
Everything had changed
Praying for the Peace Corps
When the time came, God and President Kennedy got me in.
Tina Martin applied to the Peace Corps, and requested any French or Spanish speaking country. She was sent to Tonga where they speak a Polynesian language in no way related to French or Spanish. After Tonga, she used her readjustment allowance to traveled to Spain where she taught English in Madrid for a year and then moved on to Algeria where she taught at a girls lycee for two more years. Finally she returned home to California, married, had a baby, and began to teach ESL students at City College of San Francisco, where between classes she has made trips to Japan, Cuba, Chile and Mexico. My ESL students, Tina writes, have made it possible for me to travel around the world just by coming to class.
P.S. Tina, who loosely based this story on her own experience, won the Beauty Contest after it no longer meant as much to her, and during her two years in Tonga she lived in a tiny hut made of bamboo and coconut leaves. After dating men of almost every nationality, she married a U.S. citizen and spent more than four months learning about American culture.