On the way to Dulles and the California primary election, I make an unscheduled stop at Holy Cross Hospital. My youngest sister has had back surgery, and I feel the need to see her. She's asleep, but wakes briefly. "Good luck," she says as I kiss her and leave.
The rain makes driving terrible but the DC10 takes off with a hitch. Nothing, neither bloody mary nor the rah-rah message of "Chariots of Fire" makes the ride better, nor the sense of doom I feel go away.
The sun is brilliant in Los Angeles, almost no smog. It seems oddly inappropriate. Dinner with an old friend makes everything worse. His troubles are suffocating him, and there is nothing I can do. Back at my hotel, I flip the channels, searching for Goldwater ads. I finally see one at 1 a.m. The dread in my gut takes a quantum leap to my throat. Where is the "TV blitz" the campaign director kept telling us about? I cannot sleep, and call a friend. She meets me at for a milkshake and talk. SUNDAY
Barry picks me up at 10:45 a.m. and we drive in his '68 Mustang convertible --top up, after all, I'm a buttoned-up Easterner -- to the Bel Air Presbyterian Church. After working with him for 13 years, I am still amazed by his district.
The church clings precariously to the side of a hill, and is oblivious to the special protection its status should bring, since it's shored up in every conceivable spot. The service is long, and the sermon is all about judgment. I know I should pay attention, but all I can think is, "Where are all the TV ads? The direct mail? Where is the blitz?" For several weeks, people have been calling and asking the same questions.
After church, we drive to the Pasedena Auditorium for an Americana program. Barry is a surprise guest, and the only politician. Expecting 200 people, there sit almost 1,500. Barry receives skeptical but polite applause when he is introduced. Standing alone in a spotlight, with all the house lights off, Barry talks about his ancestors, and what they were looking for when they settled in California in 1853. He says what he thinks about the state, and this nation, and then he reads a poem about America by Ralph Waldo Emerson. There is not a sound from the audience. He finishes, smiles a little and walks off the stage. Silence. I am dying inside. Suddenly, there is thunderous applause. I am not used to this, and break into a sweat, grinning.
People queue up in the lobby to meet him, but most don't know he running for the Senate. He goes home to prepare for tomorrow, and restless, I drive to the campaign headquarters. The door is locked. Locked! Two days before the election! One person, the scheduling coordinator, is working. She is frantic with unfinished business, so I stay and help. I am told the campaign director has not been in, since he was golfing this weekend. MONDAY
Can't find Barry's house, so I call him. He directs me to a street whose sign is covered with vines, and to a driveway that suspiciously looks like a vertical drop. I close my eyes and edge the car down.
At Burbank Airport by 8:15 a.m. We whistle-stop the day in his Beech Bonanza: an 85-minute radio interview with Skip Young in Apple Valley (Skip was Wally Frumpstead on the Ozzie and Harriet Show); a pro-airport briefing and press conference in Ontario; a Lockheed plant tour, and another series of interviews in Burbank.
Along the way I collect a pocketful of constituent complaints about everything from unemployment to potholes. As the weather warms up, the air becomes very turbulent, and Barry tells me where the "burp bags" are. I don't need one, thank God. An exhilirating day; Barry is a walking encyclopedia on everything thrown at him, but it's too late, and we both know it. TUESDAY
I speak with Barry after he votes, and tell him I'll catch up with him this evening at the election party. Then I meet a friend who has been helping us with Barry's legislation to encourage jobs for the blind and severely handicapped. He is legally blind, so I act as his voting assistant and hold his hand as he marks his ballot for Barry. Then I help a friend of his, who is also blind, and "vote" for Barry again. I am the only person in California who has voted for Barry twice in one day.
All of the major Republican candidates have suites in the same hotel. The elevators are impossible and the hallways jammed. Through the noise is the sound of defeat, echoed on multiple televisions scattered throughout our three suites.
Jane and Mary and I, who have been with Barry since 1969, stay close to him. It's a tossup as to who's giving moral support to whom. Barry's face is strong, smiling, congenial, but I notice a tic in his jaw. As the evening progresses, twice he grabs my arm and says with his teeth grit, "I should have won this thing." He is right.
At 11 p.m., word spreads that he is preparing to concede. I clear his suite so he can take calls from his family. Shortly after, we escort him downstairs to the ballroom. Everyone around us is grim faced. Most of the women, and some of the men, are in tears. The security men push through the ceowd ahead of us, but the TV lights blind us and we merely follow along.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the posters, "Goldwater, A Tradition." I wonder if my 4-year old daughter will see us on television. The room quiets as he moves to the podium. He concedes, magnificently. As he speaks, all the struggles, victories and frustrations of the years flash through my head. I look at his face, in a way for the first time. I like him a lot. WEDNESDAY
I wait for him outside the room where the "unity luncheon" is being held. He's late, but just a little, and we go in. For some reason, this is more difficult than last night, and I'm glad when it's over. THURSDAY
A friend rescues me from the telephone, and suddenly I am at the Griffith Park Observatory. On our way into the planetarium, I notice a solar photovoltaic exhibit. It is based on legislation that Barry authored several years ago. Tonight, I discover the only effective antidote to losing an election: strawberry margaritas. FRIDAY
Packing my suitcase. I find I am still looking for Goldwater ads on television. They are no more apparent today than they were before the election.
I feel like hell and think maybe I should have skipped the strawberries. But later, on the plane, I feel fine, and I'm glad I hooked my wagon to the Goldwater star 13 years ago.