I was 13 years old waiting for the FBI to come arrest my father. It was the 1981 national union strike and my father was taking a stand for political honesty, as campaign promises had been made. My father and PATCO had helped elect Reagan and they realized they had been cheated. So, my father decided to break his contract and stand for a higher good – that for honesty and they were standing for the American people. Many of these union members had been Vietnam Vets. I remember the fear that night that someone powerful might take away my daddy.
My family life spun out of control financially and emotionally for years. . . there was so much blame placed on my father that he began to drink heavily. I lost money for college to study oceanography (which had been my dream) and play the guitar. I began to hate my father and did so for years. I did finally put myself through college, with holes in my shoes determined never to be like my father and make bad choices. I’d work hard and live a good life.
Thirty five years later I lived in a big house, with a wealthy husband and two children and taught sailing to children – I’ve always loved the ocean. That’s when I began to understand what’s happening to our oceans . . pollution, dead coral reefs and more, and I miraculously got a grant to make a film with twelve children who learn about the ocean and take a stand for it. During the making of the film I began to learn what Carter had tried to do with solar and wind (I had never learned this). I learned more about his vision, listened to his speeches and began to understand who took the wrong road, and my father’s union had been partly to blame for that. . . But it was in toward the end of the making of the film with the world’s greatest oceanographer decided to step in and help us with our film, a humble film, the great Dr. Sylvia Earle who quit her own government job as scientist because she realized she could do more as a private citizen. Our film went international – it was my first film ever. And that’s when I really began to think about values and how to inspire people. Not long after completion of this film Racing with Copepods, I approached a local guitarist whom I had met Brazilian Jose Neto. I felt he had a story but I didn’t know what it was until we started to film him. People began to help, little by little, until Deborah Santana (Carlos Santana’s ex wife) and then the great Harry Belafonte, Steve Winwood, Narada Michael Walden and more stepped in to help us make this little film with very little money . . . and then we had a message, because this guitarist who has lived a life of humility, not fame or money, and believed in uplifting others carried a similar spirit as President Carter. But, when out of the blue of photo of Jose Neto and George Harrison arrived just before our first screening, we knew there was an energy behind this film beyond us. . .
I deeply believe Carter carries the spirit that could inspire our entire country. . . as a leader, visionary and spiritual person. And I can serve my own father and make him proud. These projects have been very healing to those fired air traffic controllers, knowing that something positive has come out of their years of financial and emotional struggles after they lost their jobs 40 years ago.
I would be honored to meet President Jimmy Carter to share hope and inspiration and share the story of a 13 year old kid who felt they had lost everything, even their own country, but then one day gained everything one could hope for – and that is hope itself.