Former Senator George McGovern dies, aged 90 – U.S. News

This was not unexpected, but still it was sad to hear.

I was a volunteer on the McGovern campaign at the main New York headquarters when I was 15. I was sort of a paid volunteer who received subway tokens and a bit of food money so I could afford to come in every day.

I helped run the campaign shop at the front on the main floor for a while. We had buttons of every kind imaginable: Movie Moguls for McGovern, Catholics for McGovern, Housewives for McGovern… you name it. I think I counted over 300 different kinds at one time.

I also helped with literature tables around Manhattan and once helped host an auction fund raiser and Shirley Maclaine showed up!

I didn’t really understand all the politics of the time, and there really wasn’t much talk of the Watergate break-in during the campaign. All I knew was that just about everybody around me was voting for McGovern (and he won the city, even though he didn’t win the state) and I was disappointed and naively surprised when he lost.

I remember convincing my aunt, who was a Nixon supporter, to vote for him over the Vietnam war. There are other bits and pieces of memories from that time: people in the campaign headquarters saying nasty things about Humphrey, the smell of the headquarters very early in the morning when it first opened, somebody giving me a new candy bar called “KitKat” to try, running mimeograph machines, helping out on the switchboard (what a contraption!), leaving in the morning and coming home late every night and feeling independent for the first time, some sort of videotape (U-matic?) playing “There’s a new world coming…” in the display window…

I don’t have my McGovern buttons any more, and I lost touch with everybody I worked with at the campaign. But it was a very special time in my life, and so I’m feeling especially nostalgic about it this evening.

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