Friday, December 03, 2004

Ambassador Hotel

I saw the headline that "Robert Kennedy's Killer Wants Hotel Left Standing." I remember vividly standing in that hallway where Robert Kennedy was shot, just outside the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in LA. I had goosebumps then and remember it so clearly now. I was at the hotel in Spring, 1971 as part of the Model UN delegation. Ironically, we had been given Egypt as our country --- as much as I protested, I learned a great deal about the Middle East.
Our group had driven down the coast from Seattle and checked into the Ambassador for our event. I did not even unpack when I got a call that my grandfather had died. I immediately flew home, crying all the way on the plane, talking to him as if he were in the clouds.
My grandfather was my biggest supporter, from when I was 5 and worked at the family business to the day he died. He had suffered a stroke and was in a nursing home. I was in college but visited almost daily as I was the only person whose name he could say. He did recognize my grandmother, the true love of his life, but could not say her name.
So, it is with sadness that I think of my afternoon in the Ambassador Hotel. And it is with joy and love that I think of my grandfather. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him in some way. I found out years later the reason there was always work for me in the store: on his way out the day before, he would knock over the display rack of Fuller Paint chips. And he taught me to count the nuts, bolts, screws and washers during inventory in groups -- of 2, 3, 5, etc. -- obviously teaching me my multiplication. I still count that way in his honor.