Barbara Slitkin, Visual Artist

Resident at Westbeth since 2007

We poll workers endured long hours, and it gave us a chance to get to know a few of the other in-house residents who also served. This was the big election in 2008. How thrilling to watch our first black President be elected. How exciting. I remember Penny Jones, the fabulous puppeteer from the seventh floor. She and I were invited to a party to celebrate the big win, the very night of the election. (Imagine, considering that in 2020, the election was not settled at first and was disputed.) We, Penny and I, seemed to be so much younger then. (So was Obama.) What I remember of that party was Penny being sought after by a man who was very attracted to her. I do not think she noticed. This was after an awfully long day and evening working the crowds. I found a new friend too, who walked me back from the party late that evening and stole a kiss, which took me by surprise. It was a very odd night.

In 2012 Penny and I were no longer poll workers, if memory serves me right. She invited me in to watch TV as the results were being aired, to see the celebration of the second term of President Obama. Penny served champagne, and we toasted the victory.

Fast forward to 2020. I must not forget to mask up before leaving the apartment. I’m not certain about anything these days. My nights have become my days. I had no sleep the night before Election Day. I put on my winter coat and hat and mask and was out to vote at 6 a.m. to wait in a very long line.

God bless the United States of America.

We celebrate Westbeth in its 50th year in 2020. Cheers!

What a year.

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