Today Show Saved by Sara Jane Moore!

Every time I think of changing my daily habit of having The Today Show on as morning background noise (instead of something on a more elevated plane—like classical music) while I go about my early morning rituals of putting the day in order, they do something/have a guest on that makes me realize I can never pull that plug–and get to that higher level.

Today it was a live interview with Sara Jane Moore–remember her? She shot at, and nearly killed, Gerald Ford. Good grief. What ever happened to her? Not that I’ve ever really thought about that, but if I had, I would have said she was still locked up, and would be forevermore. She’s not. She’s alive, well, and on parole–living in an undisclosed small town, no doubt in the middle of nowhere, and under some other name. And this morning there she was, live on The Today Show.

I nearly swallowed my toothbrush as I heard the interview being introduced, and then nearly tripped over a cat in my rush to get the first glimpse. But wait–what had happened? Had they substituted an elderly relative of Sara Jane’s for her–perhaps a grandmother or great aunt? Who was that demure, gray haired woman of Rockwellian grandmotherly perfection that Matt Lauer was talking to?

Good grief again! It was Sara Jane herself–totally transformed from any image I had ever had of her, not that any of those was anything but vague. But was this woman I was seeing and hearing the real Sara Jane? Someone had obviously been duped.

But no, it really was the infamous would-have-been assassin whose name we rarely hear anymore. Who would ever have guessed? She was so calm, well-spoken, thoughtful, composed, and gentle. Gentle? A would-have-been assassin? Come on.

She went on, serenely answering questions about who she had been back then and who she is now, as if as if she were chatting with an old freind over a cup of tea. She admitted to feeling like the rest of us in looking back at her own life (as if she were looking at a totally different person’s). Who was that woman and what had she been thinking when she pulled the trigger on that gun? Even today’s Sara Jane was hard-pressed to say.

She had been, she says, disillusioned with the world the way it really was, as opposed to the way she’d thought it was…and she’d come to this realization on seeing the poverty in San Francisco in contrast to where she came from–a small town, that interestingly, is so close to San Francisco as to be considered one of its suburbs today, if not then. This coming to grips with reality made her angry, and she honestly thought she could change things for the better by ‘trigggering’ (interesting word choice-hers, not mine) a revolution that would be launched with the president’s assassination (I didn’t get that her animosity was personally directed at Gerald Ford–it’s just that he was the president at the time–I think.) I shudder to think how many of the similarly delusional are walking among us at any given time. I hope they were watching Sara Jane’s interview today. Might have cleared their heads a bit.

Having just gone back to check out old photos of the Sara Jane from back then, I see, and now remember, that she was no young hippie sprite with an idealism sprung directly from some drug-infested college campus.

Although I didn’t hear it mentioned this morning, Google has informed me that there is a book detailing Sara Jane’s story that I am adding to my mountain range of must-reads.

Geri Spieler has written Biography of Sara Jane Moore, an attempt of making sense of a fairly frumpy 45 year-old housewife and mother of five (five??!!), and woman of five failed marriages (was this the key?), who with one seemingly rash act put the major part of her remaining life behind bars. Spieler began hearing from Sara Jane over 30 years ago when Spieler was a journalist and Sara Jane began writing to her from her cell. Their relationship over all these years has been described as “tumultuous,” and that makes me want to know more. There was no tumult showing today.

How could this demure, mild mannered woman I saw this morning possibly have/have had a ‘tumultuous’ relationship with anyone, even though she obviously had had, at least in her head, with the American president–and perhaps all those ex-husbands? And more to the point, how could she ever have even thought of attempting to assassinate anyone? She just didn’t seem the type.

This is worth looking into and I have The Today Show to thank for once again informing me. I guess my time with classical music starting my days has once again been put on indefinite hold. The Today Show has been saved from extinction on my schedule, and they in turn, have Sara Jane Moore to thank.

Because of what I saw and heard on The Today Show this morning, I’m going to start taking a closer look at all those middle-aged women I see out there that look so innocently frumpy and benign. I will not let myself be so easily misled again. Are we all suspect of being who we appear to not be?

Probably so. I’ve taken note.

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