Why I'm here....

Since I've always been quick with an opinion an old friend once lost and again found suggested that perhaps I should share with more people my commentary. Never being one to pass on a challenge I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Softer Side of Robert E. Armstrong

For full article on Mayor Robert E Armstrong go to: http://www.journalgazette.net/

It may be true that I couldn't tell you one thing about how Robert E. Armstrong was as mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1975-1979; however, it might surprise you what I could. I for one was very saddened to hear of his passing. As children growing up we all have many people that touch our lives. Our friends, family, TV hero's, teachers and the occasional stranger with an act of kindness. How many of us can say we held a fond childhood memory of an act of kindness shown to a child by a city mayor? In 1976 when I was nine years old my third grade class took a field trip to The City County Building. We got to tour the old court house and go under the road through the tunnels to the jail. We were fingerprinted and even locked in a jail sell for about fifteen minutes. We got our mugshots taken. It was a great field trip for young children. Of all the memories of that day though the one that always will stick out is of when I and my first cousin Diane decided to go AWOL. We were all headed down to the jail sells which I thought a little boring. I was nine and not to out of character for me I was good at getting into trouble. Let me say whatever trouble I got into my younger cousin Diane got into with me. So we were at the end of the group. They went straight she and I turned and started exploring the building on our own. We found ourselves in an elevator and went to the top floor. ( I believe that is the ninth floor. I didn't pay too much attention and I haven't looked. Could have been the sixth. I can't remember. Anyone know how many floors that building has?) Anyway, we walked out of the elevator and this nice woman greeted us. She looked a little surprised as I recall. (gee wonder why with a nine year old and an eight year old coming out of the elevator unchaperoned?) Anyway she asked what us girls were doing there. We fessed up to leaving the group. She asked us to stay put for a moment, but returned shortly and ushered us into what we later would learn was the mayor's office. Walking in the man behind the desk had a smiled that beamed from ear to ear. Kind of a smirk in a way looking back with adult eyes. The lady left us in there. Later I would find out she was sent to find our teachers. This man had no difficulty talking to us on our childlike level. He even let me sit in his chair. He told me to see how it felt to be mayor if only for a minute. He gave us pencils and some other small trinkets. The time I remember as very enjoyable and the most fun I had on that trip. Basically the mayor became our babysitter for a half hour. A police officer came back with the woman and we were taken down to the jail sells where they pretended to lock us up for not following the rules. Don't really remember getting in any trouble. I do remember the look of relief on my teachers face. So for me I won't remember Robert E Armstrong as the one time mayor of Fort Wayne, but rather as a man who showed two young girls a fleeting moment of kindness. Again I find myself saying... Thanks for the memories.

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