Its name is Mercer Island, an island near Seattle. So beautiful. To get there, we need to pass the bridge crossing over the sea. It looks similar to the bridge of Suramadu, but still have its bolt complete.
A journey that satisfied both eyes and heart…
After the satisfying lunch, we moved to Mercer Island Community Center; a community organizer whose building is financed by resident’s taxes; and its activities are developing character of all the residents living in that island.
Amazing… Residents taxes could be implemented to raise such a good building; having a good view with the blue sea as its background, the clear sky, and so green as it was planted by some trees.
Getting out from the car, I firstly look for the best angle to be shot, instead of entering the building.
Inside the building, there was an old (of almost 70 years old) lady waiting (spontaneously, Susan Boyle occured in my mind, a singer, finalist of British Got Talent). Her name was Susan Blake, that had ever been a target of media interviews, because she had ever met Ann Dunham, when she brought her baby Obama. And Susan Blake had also ever changed Obama’s diaper.
Susan Blake was sitting, tidying up the documents, which one of them was the yearly book of “Isla 60?. “Isla 60? is the yearly book of Stanley Ann Dunham’s high school. Stanley Ann Dunham had also ever studied in the Eckstein Middle School, Mercer Island.
We interviewed her, face to face with her. I and my friends sit in a line, looks like a trouble maker student waiting for a punishement. The chat continued in relaxed. This is approximately the content of our chat:
Q: How is your impression of Ann Dunham at the first time you met?
A: It is very interesting… A brown-hair lady, having a smart-looking seen from her eyes. She introduced herself as the oldest daughter of a happy family. It sounds unique when she told me about her name. “I am Stanley… Stanley Ann Dunham.” I was so surprised of knowing a lady named Stanley, because it is a kind of name for a male. She said that it was because her parents had wanted a son, but in fact they got a daughter. She changed her name when she went to Hawaii. An extraordinary girl with the extraordinary thought.
Q: When was the last time you met Ann Dunham?
A: It was in 1961, when she came for a short visit. Bringing her little son, Baby Obama. I met her baby and once change his diapers. I am so proud of that. I had ever changed the future president’s diapers.
Q: What did you think when you saw at the first time, a cute black-skin baby clutched by a mom of white-skin woman?
A: Everyone who sees a baby, never has an image of the baby’s future. Might someday the baby become a cancer-medicine inventor, a success enterpreneur, or even murder. I saw the baby Obama, and hoped for he would become a healthy and smart kid like her mother. It had never come to my mind, that the baby in my clutch would be my president someday. But I hoped that he would be a solution for his future and his country’s also.
Q: How did you see your friend, who become a mother in her young age?
A: I was so surprised. She was still so young. We had just finished our first year of lecture. She had already been a mother. It is not easy. Motherhood is not an easy responsibility. I thought that she had taken a brave decision. Even me, I had never thought that I would be ready for being a mother. But, considering of her tough heart, I felt so sure about her decision. It was proven. I could see it from the way she loves baby Obama, her one and only child…
Q: Did you feel surprised when you heard the news that Stanley Ann Dunham was married to Barrack Obama Sr, an African coming from Kenya?
A: That’s what made me more surprised. I have never met Barrack. But she told me that she had fallen in love with him, so deeply… I could see it from the way she telling me everything about her husband. I knew, it was not easy to hold an inter-racial marriage; moreover between black and white skin. But her family fully supported her, so Stanley Ann Dunham could find a courage to take the decision that finally change her life direction, and also her baby’s in the future, for sure.
Q: How do you see the relationship between Stanley Ann Dunham and Barrack Obama Sr.?
A: Love doesn’t see color, love sees charater.. That’s what I see in their relationship. Barrack Sr is a smart person; he is persistent of his will to make a change in his country. It is not easy for an African to continue studying in Harvard. What I knew was Obama Sr has an ambition to change his country to be better and independent. His spirit of change had become their meeting point.
Q: It means, their belief of making a change was inherited by Obama from his parents?
A: Yes.. Their relationship, the baby Obama, seemed to give a strange thought to us. But, I knew Stanley as a lady that was not only smart, she was also critical, and of course always be the front liner of the action for changes. She takes the action, not just thinking. Stanley and Barrack Sr are the part of changes; and it was inherited by their only child that in the future become a president.
Q: Do you see Stanley Ann Dunham as an agent of change?
A: I am sure that Obama will be an agent of change in the world. His parents were part of changes. They all are agent of change. Stanley, with all her activities as an anthropologist, visiting many countries, having a global thought, become a practical school for Obama to get a global perspective. Stanley had educated Obama so well. It was her love that made Obama to be grown up with such tough character.
Q: Were you surprised when Obama became a president?
A: No, I was not surprised. I keep being informed of his political career. He has a strange name, so that it was easy to follow his track in the media. I was not surprised when he was elected as a president; because it was part of his consistency of struggling along the corridor of change. The spirit of Change: Yes We Can! is so right. Because ‘Change’ has been strongly ingrained and has become part of his life. The belief of doing change was his father’s dream and practical education from his mother through their real life.
Q: Were you happy when Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009?
A: More than happy, also sad at once, because his mother didn’t have a chance to see her beloved son ‘reaping the harvest of what she had planted’, as the result of her struggle. I feel like being his aunt. An aunty that is so proud of having a son of her friend become the President of USA; create a history of himself and the world. I think her mother is smiling in pride in her beyond.
That is all… The interview touching our heart, we did with Susan Blake that had ‘touch’ the life of Stanley Ann Dunham only in the time during their highscool age and the starting moment of Stanley Ann Dunham’s motherhood.
A short meeting that gave me a perspective that character development are many given from the school named life.
And, the best herritage from the parents is character development that creates a figure that become solution for the child itself and even the world.
One more thing… It is normal if Obama strongly hold the principle of Change: Yes, We Can… Because it is not just the words, but it comes from the accumulation of his experience of life that he wants to share to the world. The word is not ended in his mind, but has been and will always be proven in action.
Thank’s for Susan Blake for the nice chat.
We continued our chat with Chip Wall, Stanley Ann Dunham’s friend in senior high school.
He had been waiting outside, in the meadow of Mercer Island Community Building.
Regards from the Mercer Island