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Is It Tuesday Yet?

Story ID:4108
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Tri-Cities Washington USA
Person:Ken & Kathe Campbell
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Is It Tuesday Yet?

Is It Tuesday Yet?

Is It Tuesday Yet?

Is It Tuesday Yet?
by Kathe Campbell

If a person wants to be somebody in this life, I doubt there is anything nicer than being a Christian first, and a Republican second. My parents and their parents were all registered Republicans as far back as anyone remembers, forever touting that voting was a duty, not a privilege. Although politics was not even a gleam in either of our eyes, I fell in love with the Assistant Registrar of our University, and as religion and politics would have it, a collective sigh emerged when our families decided the match would flourish.

My handsome 27-year-old new husband was perpetually besieged by the county fathers from the Republican Central Committee. "Ken, we're here to ask you if you would consider running as our legislative district's State Senator. We need a young, savvy, and dynamic personality next year."

I knew this was all Ken needed to hear from the county's leading citizenry. Since he was involved with the family business, some changes would need to come about, but it wasn't even a question with Ken's father, a city councilman. And so we were off to the races in grand style with new duds, a working committee, and a glad hand everywhere we went. A bit shy of 20 and knowing little of local and state politics, I crammed the issues daily, and kept my non-voting age strictly under wraps.

The campaign trail was long, hot, and dusty over a four-county area, farmers and cattlemen mostly, but we too were cattle and business folks, and Ken understood their concerns. Meanwhile, I busied myself with the printing of campaign posters, buttons and pamphlets to pass out wherever people gathered. The Women's Republican Clubs jumped on our bandwagon and provided listings for dinners and meeting dates of all sorts. Coordinating caucauses and banquets became my job, shaving overlaps and travel time, for there were two other Republican wannabees dogging Ken's footsteps. The primaries would not necessarily be a shoo-in.

I can tell you the exact time and place I became pregnant with our first child, for not long thereafter I began suffering with morning sickness . . . all day long. My miserable thin little frame wanted to just go home and sit out the next few months. Although thrilled with the good news, I could see how much my darlin' was counting on me. "I need my redheaded wife to smile sweetly, shake a hearty hand, and say a few words about your own background, honey. But mostly, I need you out there working with those enthusiastic Republican gals." Oh yes, miseries or not, he had a way with him, that boy, for despite sudden rushes to the ladie's room, I stayed healthy and steadfast to my commitment.

The day came when old college friends, the gubernatorial candidate and his wife, converged upon our area with their fancy caravan to tour with us. I felt like an old frump as the photographers featured we wives on television and the front pages. Marilyn, in her lovely spring frock, snow white gloves, big picture hat and pearls, and I forcing a smile just before my lunch came up.

I felt some better and more energetic as the June primaries approached. If there were holes in our campaign, neither of us could imagine where they were. Knowledgeable dialog and quick, smart answers spilled out of my college forensic coach as though second nature. I couldn't have been more proud. "How was it?" as he leaned close and whispered in my ear after every speech. We gathered with our committee and families on election night for a backyard barbeque, winning handily as the Republican nominee.

Four months remained and final pitches were launched to convince four counties that Ken was equipped and ready to commit his all. With dinners, picnics, and speaking engagements once more in place, we went at it again like two whirlwinds, often meeting in decorated V.I.P cars at local parades. I recall wangling a rural five and dime out of their last red and blue crepe paper to decorate our white convertible after the chairman of the project fizzled. Feeling top-notch at last, we were wired for the best, but prepared for the worst, a working motto of sorts.

A campaign stopover brought our nation's presidential candidates, "Ike" and Mamie Eisenhower to our Tri-Cities on the Columbia River for the biggest rally ever witnessed in the area. Ken was ecstatic when the General insisted all Republican hopefuls be his guest on the platform the day he dedicated a new dam. It must have been a stunning, but merciful death blow for our Democrat friends, but it wasn't to be as Tuesday, November 4th rolled around.

We wasted little time kicking our 488 vote loss around the block, even though I periodically caught Ken in a pensive mood. Our biggest lesson -- an overwhelming Republican victory in the primaries doesn't always mean a win at the finish line. So we fell back to earth and traveled with our son to retrieve signs, buttons, and bumper stickers, contemplating better things for another day.

Ken's Campaign Card
Kathe with Marilyn Eastvold
"Ike" & Mamie Eisenhower