Posting on May 2, 2020
Dear Friends, Many of you don’t know that I went on a speaking tour a couple of years ago…and loved it. Here are the diary entries and speeches that I gave.
May 25th, 2018
Here’s how my first day on the Generation’s Tour went. After, I write what happened, I’ll place the copy of the entire speech into the diary for later perusal.
The mic’s feedback squelched.
’Great.” I thought…and not a good great, rather the rolling my eyes type of great as I was just about to introduce myself and start my speech ’Yikes” the mic squelched again, and this time it was so loud I cupped my ears as did many in the meager audience waiting to hear me speak. I, however, also contorted my face and scrunched my nose. And, as funny as my face may have looked , (as if it could prepare my ears for that squelching sound of nails on a chalkboard ), I realized that the feedback was probably the best thing that could have happened, as it had drawn a crowd into the small space I chose to make my speech earlier. The space was small, near the food court, with an even smaller availability of seating. It wasn’t a large crowd maybe 25 people, maybe only 20, but they seemed to me to be a curious crowd eating County Fair fried specialties while looking at me and surely wondering who was this person interrupting their delicacies.
“Now’s your chance!” Jeff exclaimed. For those reading this diary on the blog forum Jeff is my guide/groupie/advisor/driver/sound crew/ and security for the tour, but most importantly Jeff is my husband. His biggest asset is not something palpable, instead it is his intuitive. He understands moments, and at this moment I knew he was right. So, I stepped up to the microphone again, with a new determination, and began.
“Hello, my name is Madison.” There was no squelching mic (thank goodness), only quizzical looks from the audience.
“I was named after James Madison. Yes, I am a woman with a male United States presidential last name, for first name. But… it’s not an uncommon name for a female. In fact, somewhere in the 1990’s Madison found its way into the American top 10 for female baby names, repeatedly. Since I was born in the 1960’s , I like to think that my parents were on the cutting edge of naming children. Even though we’re here at the County Fair with numerous candidates and politicians that are probably kissing babies I’m not here to talk about baby names or did talk about running for office myself, (which I am not).” A sort of half-hearted groan arose from the crowd , which as far as I could tell from behind the mic had grown to about 35 people.
“Instead, I’m here as part of the Generations Tour. So, as I introduced myself before, my name is Madison Hope.” Having repeated my name, I fully expected further groans, hecklers, and fair goers to get up and leave to eat their meals in peace, but surprisingly no one did. I then risked my standing at the podium once more and asked the crowd if they knew what the Generations Tour was, and quickly, after only a very short pause, answered my own question when, of course there were no takers.
“The Generation’s Tour is a group of speakers from different generations, but not necessarily just Baby Boomers, or Gen X or the Greatest Generation. And, although I think that current speakers should all hail from the Greatest Generation as we lose more and more on a daily basis, I was afforded this opportunity to tell my story, so here I am.”
“I actually check a couple of generational boxes. Baby Boomer, or maybe Gen X, depending on the criteria you’re looking at. But also, I check a very important box and that is the 1st Generation American box. And, really that’s where my story begins.” I’m just going to add one more thought here diary about the writing of the speech after a few more lines of the speech to remember this point. I continued.
“Madison Hope, or Mad Hope (yes… there was plenty of teasing, but eventually I grew to love being called Mad Hope)…Mad Hope, the 1st Generation American, named after an American president , by parents that were just trying to honor the country that had accepted and given them a home, and more importantly giving them freedom after they had escaped from behind the Iron Curtain.” When writing this speech , I had really had wanted to emphasize the importance of the last statement, but between the microphone and now warm breeze that had stepped up, the emphasis and importance of the statement seemed to get lost…but I had prepared for this moment, it was the moment that had made me agreed to be a speaker for the Generations Tour, and it was this moment that I was going to get across to the listeners, and passersby at the fair, and that’s why I first repeated the words “Iron Curtain” in Hungarian .
“Vas Fuggony. What does Vas Fuggony mean? “ The sounds of different words and unrecognizable words to the crowd focused their attention on me. I actually had them…I had them listening.
“Vas Fuggony, is Hungarian for the Iron Curtain. And not only do I know how to say Vas Fuggony in Hungarian, I have been behind the Iron Curtain, and there aren’t very many Americans nowadays that can say that. In fact, sadly, many people of the younger generations don’t know what the Iron Curtain is, and are unknowingly pushing for a life much like Hungarians, Estonians, Serbians, Polish, East Germans, and so many more European Nationals that lived behind the Iron Curtain had. And, before I even tell you about why I’ve been behind the Iron Curtain , I’m going to tell you a little more about myself, which will explain why I’ve been behind the Iron Curtain and what the Iron Curtain is or was. So as I mentioned I’m a first generation American, and I spoke to you in Hungarian, so that would explain to you, that my parents were Hungarian and that they escaped from Hungary during the uprising of 1956 . Once my parents were established in America, and they received American citizenship, and saved up the money to travel, we traveled to Hungary to see our relatives…and for me to meet my relatives.” I paused for a moment to scan the room and took a sip of water in the meantime, and then about 10 minutes later. I finished the speech, and the Q and A following lasted for much longer than the speech itself. I was delighted. Even more thrilling was when I checked my email and the Generations Tour had invited me to speak for the rest of the tour. I say Bravo to me!
I know most everyone gets nervous speaking in public, and I’ll admit that I did have some jitters at first, but the jitters went away once I saw that I had the crowd.
Note: To those reading my public blog, the introductory portion of the speech is printed in italics so you can skip over and pick up where the Times New Roman font begins again.
More to come May 3rd, 2020