Friday before the election, 1976. Mom pulled me out of school to go to Southwyck Mall in Toledo, to see Jimmy Carter on a last-minute campaign stop.

While waiting, I was introduced to a gentleman about my grandfather’s age who was wandering around meeting and greeting before the huge crowds show up.

This was Howard Metzenbaum, five days before winning the Senate seat he would keep for three terms. Somewhere, I have a picture of twelve-year-old me and sixty-year-old him–I will endeavor to find and post it.

Four and a half years later, he and his wife were out watching us gather for the May 3 1981 March on the Pentagon–described in a contemporary report from our college newspaper as “an old man in shorts with his wife, grinning broadly”. A year and a half later, finally old enough, I proudly voted for his re-election, and again six years after that.

Like few other politicians of the recent past, he proudly embraced the label of ‘Liberal’. Prime sponsor of the Brady Act. Labor advocate. Consumer advocate.

And sorely missed already.


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