Once in a while, I see something in the news which takes me back decades, to the days when M. and I were young marrieds. Such was the case this past week.
Paula Hawkins, a feisty former model and the first woman elected to a full Senate term without a family political connection (in 1980), died this month. Here she is, pictured with Pres. Reagan and Claude Pepper, another Florida politician.
Sen. Hawkins was a real Tallahassee presence in the 1970s, when she served on the Florida Public Service Commisssion. Always in the news. And I believe she was the only female Florida has elected to the Senate. (of course.)
She was a conservative Republican. Our political views were very different. But she was a groundbreaking feminist. Even though she eschewed the term.
Tallahassee is a small town, a corporate town and that “corporation” is State Government. The State and its news pervade everything in town. State legislators were the subject of gossip. It wasn’t unusual to be stuck in traffic behind the Governor’s sedan. You could be a big cheese in that small town. Very easily.
This is a shot of the State Capitol as it looked when we first got there in 1972, before the new Capitol was built. And then, a more recent shot.
I lived in that environment for a dozen years. And Paula Hawkins was a player.
She lost her reelection bid, partly because she couldn’t campaign as much as she needed. It was a live by the sword, die by the sword reason: a television backdrop fell on her.
After that, she lived a fairly private life.
But still, I remember. And reading about her death brought back long-dormant memories of our life back in those days.
RIP, Sen. Hawkins. RIP.