First Lady Rosalynn Carter, The Reason I'm Here Today


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Jun 15, 2010
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South Africa (Limpopo, Eastern Cape & Kalahari), Nicaragua, FL, CA, SD, GA, SC, CO
Not sure how to start this short story, but after too many of my friends telling me that I should share it I, decided to write it down and share it with you. It’s a bit long winded, but something had to be said so you understand the severity of what my mom and I were going through. Trying to keep this politically neutral, so please no political comments towards Mrs. Carter.

For all of this to make sense, and for you to understand, it is necessary to go back to how this all started.

My mom immigrated to the US in 1968, and my siblings and my dad moved here in 1971. I moved to the US (first time) shortly after and decided that the concrete jungle of Jersey City was not a place for me to live in, so I told my mom that I wanted to return to Nicaragua and live with my grandparents. Against my parent's desire, I went back to Nicaragua.

The political climate in Nicaragua was deteriorating by the minute, but as a teenager, I really didn’t care or paid much attention to the problem until it hit home. Not a good place for a teenager to be in, which by the way, the other side was looking for because we were considered prime suspects of the revolution.

There was a weeklong battle in the town where I was born (Chinandega), and it was chaotic, no front lines, and those against the government did not wear a uniform. No food, no water, no electricity, and the constant gun fire from both sides. Again, I didn’t quite care, as a teenager, you feel invisible. Nothing had affected us that much. Until the national guard came crashing through our front door, and I was dragged out of the comfort of my house. I was kicked, and hit with the buttstocks of M1 Garands, and stripped to see if I had any scrapes on my elbows and knees, which would have been a reason for the National Guardsmen to consider me an insurgent, and to shoot me on the spot. Later on, I learned that those signs were considered signs of crawling, and why would I have those marks if I wasn’t crawling to avoid getting shot. I learned of too many teenagers getting shot because they had fallen and scraped their knees.

Since I was clean, they used me, and every other teenager in the block as shields, we were used to clear barricades for the National Guard. Some barricades were booby trapped, and well, you can only imagine what happened where they were tripped. Talk about being scared out of my mind, you are in front, and these idiots are shooting over your head, and the other side is shooting at them, while we clear whatever was in front of them for the vehicles to drive through. I’ll have to say the divine intervention does work. I came out of that fiasco without a single scratch. I thought I would never see the next day.

Somehow, what happened that day, got to my mom’s ear, and now my mom is in some serious panic mode. She wanted me out of there that day, and it didn’t matter how. She even thought about getting me to Mexico and crossing the border with my green card. Unfortunately, due to the war, it had been more than a year since I had been in the US, and I had lost my status as a legal resident. So, in other words I was SOL.

Let’s move forward a couple of years. The Sandinistas take over, and they won the war. Well, this was not a good place for a loudmouth very opiniated teenager who survived the revolutionary war and now due to his social status was considered a danger to the revolution. This was the revolution for the poor, so if you were middle class, upper class, you were already labeled, unless you supported the revolution.

Up to this point I had been going to a Catholic school, which now had been turned into a public school thanks to the Sandinistas. Due to my opiniated attitude, and being too vocal, I was expelled from school, and deemed Persona non-grata to the school, and the town I lived in. It was a dangerous place to live in, you didn’t know who your friend was, and who was your enemy. Many times, I was jumped, and beaten up and luckily neighbors came out to my rescue. This time I was really scared that one day someone would pull a knife or a gun on me and it would be it for me. I didn’t go out much, and I didn’t dare go out at night.

My grandmother seeing what was happening, reached out to my mom and told her that she needed to figure out a way to get me out of there, or I would end up being killed, or go missing and never be found. The country was a mess, no laws, and if you were labeled by them, you basically had no rights. For once I was concerned about my life and feared that I would not see my parents again. This was real, and for once realize that this was no longer something to play with. I wanted to leave.

Final part to follow.
I'm looking forward to the rest of this.
Sounds familiar, one of my aunts, and her husband lived in Managua at that time, two of my cousins were born there.

As the Sandinistas entered Managua, they were airlifted to Spain,courtesy of the Spanish Air Force, as my aunt worked in the Presidential Palace with Somoza :(
Enjoying your story and looking forward to the rest.
Very much look forward to the rest.
Gripping. I can only imagine how hard it was to live through.
And we wait.....
I’m in!
Jimmy and Mrs. Carter were very decent and good people.

I think both of the Bush couples were similar, in that respect.
Looking forward to more of the story, ultimately must have a positive outcome as thankfully you are here with us now
This part of the story was told to me by my mom. BTW this all started when I told my mom that I had gone to visit Plains, Georgia, the place where President Jimmy Carter was born, and where he still lives today. That we lived less then 1 1/2 hrs away from this little town. So, after I told my mom about this little trip, she decided to share this story she had not told any of us.

My mom is doing everything she can, and she is extremely concerned for my wellbeing and the possibility that she will never see me again. Her coworkers know the situation and they try to show support and comfort, but with me there, there is nothing that could calm my mom’s nerves. My mom was a wreck, and she wanted me next to her. A Cuban lady coworker of my mom approached her and said to her. Susy, have you thought about reaching out to the First Lady and see if maybe she could help you get your son out of there? My mom thought for a bit and said to her coworker that she had voted for the opposite party, and she was not a democrat. Her coworker assured that it did not matter, and to try anyways. After some thinking, my mom decided that she had nothing to lose with writing a letter to the First Lady. So, with the help of her coworkers, my mom wrote a letter and mailed it to First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Months went by, and my mom never heard back, so she figured that the letter had been lost, or never made it to the First Lady. She also thought that someone had read the letter, and probably tossed it in the garbage. Her head was a turmoil of what ifs, and basically had given up on receiving a reply to her letter. With the situation in the country not improving, my mom was worried sick about me and kept trying to figure out a way to get me out of there, legally or illegally it didn’t matter at this point, she was desperate as any parent would be.

One morning one of my mom’s coworkers comes running to her and said, Susy, you have a phone call from the White House. My mom in disbelief, answers the phone, but didn’t quite believe it was someone from the White House and thought that maybe someone was messing with her. The lady on the other side, who was serious, said to my mom that the First Lady wanted to speak to her. Still my mom did not believe this was actually happening and kept asking who she was talking to, that this was not funny at all. The lady on the phone assured her that this was not a prank and said to her that Mrs. Carter wanted to speak to her. Well, after a brief pause, Mrs. Carter comes on the phone, and tells my mom who she is, and that she had received her letter, and that she was going to help her get me out of that place. My mom was speechless, and all she could do was to thank her repeatedly while crying. Mrs. Carter assured my mom that she would do whatever she could to help her out, and that someone would be reaching out to her shortly. By now my mom had a crowd of her coworkers and they all wanted to know what happened.

A couple of weeks later, my mom received a handwritten letter from Mrs. Carter, letting her know that she had received her letter, and she would have her staff look into helping her out.

Not sure what happened after all this, but within several months, the embassy reached out to me, and when I showed up, I was escorted everywhere and was rushed around, and all the paperwork was done and approved very quickly. A couple of months later, I was sitting in an airplane inbound to the US, with a brand-new Green Card. Not sure who knew about me, but even going through customs was a breeze.

Mrs. Carter didn’t have to do this, she didn’t know who my mother was, or who I was. But she saw a mother in need and as a mom herself decided to do something about it. Mrs. Carter is the reason I’m here, and maybe the reason why I am alive today, who knows what could have happened if I had never left the country. There are no words for me to say how grateful I am for that gesture of compassion and willingness to help out my mom. There are no words for me to express the gratitude for Her to have taken the time to help my mom. In my eyes, she will always be one special Lady.

I have read that Mrs. Carter was a person with a big heart, who cared and helped those who she could help. Mrs. Carter was a person who cared, and in my case, she used her position to do good and to help a mother in need. My only regret in life is that I was never able to thank Mrs. Carter personally, and to tell her how grateful I am for what she did for my mother and me.

With all my heart I thank you Mrs. Carter, you are the reason why I am here today. Rest in peace ma’am.
Thank you for all for your comments. BTW, this post is not about me, it's about Mrs. Carter, and how wonderful of a person she was. I hope you read it that way.
What a wonderful story and tribute to the First Lady. Setting aside politics, it is unlikely two better human beings have ever occupied the White House.
What an incredible origin story. It shows that people can use their power and influence for good without looking for recognition or fanfare. I would like to imagine that if social media existed back then Mrs. Carter or her staff would not tweet about it. I do not think she would have.
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