Friday, April 22, 2011

"My Moment with Bill Clinton", by Jackie Burke Carswell

Photo above: Third from left on hood of vehicle is Lisa Dial-Timmerman, with Jackie Burke Carswell, second from left.

SMHQ, Santa Monica Crew Photo Session, Summer 1989.

In this photo, L2R: Dave Estey, Ralph Lee, Lisa Babcock, Dick Orr, Jackie Burke Carswell, Dan Atkins, Mike Frazer, Lisa Dial- Timmerman, Will Maguire, Yoko Shibata, Jeff Gaines, Jay Hopkins, Garth Canning. Photo courtesy of Will Maguire.


Just in at our request from Retired LACo Recurrent, Jackie Burke Carswell, all the way from Kauai!

"My Moment with Bill Clinton", by Jackie Burke Carswell

I recently got an email from Will stating that President Obama was in L.A. "Watch out for traffic!" Some funny memories started to flood my brain so I reply, "I have a hat for him!" Will replies back "LOL Jackie. You need to tell the great story of you running up to Pres Clinton!... with the secret service drawing down on you."

OK so here is The Story. It is 1992 and Bill Clinton is campaigning for President. It was Spring Break and I was working SMN T-15. I was on the early shift and my fellow lifeguard buddy, Lisa Dial, was working SMN T-12. I had heard rumors that morning that Clinton was jogging on the bike path in Santa Monica. I was just finishing up my workout when I hear my phone ring.
It’s Lisa Dial and she says, "Hey Jackie, see that guy on the bike path with the purple shorts and white t-shirt? THAT’S Bill Clinton!"

"Thanks I see him," I reply. It was one of those sunny slow mornings at the beach and no one was in the water, actually hardly anyone was on the beach yet, and Lisa was watching my water. So even though I was still in my bikini (because I had been working out) I sprint back to the bike path and see that Clinton is in my view with a couple of Secret Service guys lagging behind. As I run back I yell, "Hey Bill". He slows down, actually he was going so slow and sweating so profusely that I think he was happy for the interruption. He stops, turns around, looks at me and starts walking toward me. His Secret Service guys apparently have no sense of humor and immediately reach for their guns but don't try and stop me. I'm thinking they can't possibly think I'm "packing" in my bikini...or could they?!

Anyways, I jog up to Clinton and say, "Hey Bill I think you need some shade" and then I hand him my lifeguard hat. He was a little out of breath, but he puts on the hat and puts out his hand to me. He pulls me close to his body and then starts French kissing me...NOT! Just joking on the kissing part. I shake his hand and say "Jackie Burke. Good luck!" He says "Thanks" and continues to jog under the pier. His Secret Service guys now very close behind.

Not really thinking too much about what I had done, I go back to my tower and continue on with my day. But apparently Bill had run to the Lowe's Hotel and done a television news interview with MY lifeguard hat on!! And then my phone starts ringing!! First its Chief Rohrer telling me about Clinton’s television appearance with MY hat on. He mentions I should be the PR Spokesman for LACO. I am beginning to realize just how much attention this has received. The phone rings again, I answer "Tower 15, Burke". A seductive male voice on the other end says, "Yes, is this the lifeguard that gave me the hat?" "Ah, yes thats me." "Well this is Bill Clinton and I would like to thank you for giving me your hat. Would you like to come up to my room for a drink?" OMG at this point I am getting chills in my body, turning red and thinking WHAT ?!! I am, of course, totally speechless. Then I hear male giggles in the background, probably Spitler. I now know for sure that this ISN'T Bill Clinton but I'm calling the bluff anyways. It was Mickey Gallagher. We had a good laugh and Dan Crump my lieutenant that day gave me his hat. Later that month I got a letter from Ted Reed, the Director of Beaches and Harbors thanking me for giving my hat to the next potential President of the United States.

Just another funny treasured memory working the beach.

Lastly, I have to say, it was a very emotional day for me leaving LA, after seeing so many of you at Phil Topar’s retirement. I always knew lifeguarding was a big part of my life, but until that event, I didn’t realize how much my friendships I had made all those years had meant to me. To all of you that I worked with and the new lifeguards I have met, I hold you all dear in my heart. We have a bond that is so tight and so special, I can’t even explain it, only you know. Long live LACO lifeguards!

XOXO Hope to see you on Kauai soon. Aloha!


Above, Jackie with Phil Topar at one of the recent Johnny Joseph annual fundraiser dinners each year in June on the Santa Monica Pier. Photo by Will Maguire.

Photo above shows four gorgeous women that will be familiar to most of us. L2R: Nikki Hudson Murray, Jackie, Robyn Arnold, and Nell Regan. Photo courtesy of Jackie and taken during Phil Topar's recent retirement dinner.

Photo above shows Jackie, at right, with fellow LACo veteran recurrent beach lifeguard, Ron Pearlman, at the recent retirement party for Phil Topar. Photo by Will Maguire.


Story Credit: "My Moment with Bill Clinton", Copyright Jackie Burke Carswell 2011. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.

Wow! Many Thanks to Jackie for sharing this grand and epic lifeguard story! Absolutely Fantastic!

And a few more photos of Jackie and other of our lifeguard family from the past couple of years... just for the fun of it. Enjoy!

Jackie, below, at the same JJ Scholarship dinner with a gaggle of swimmer and lifeguard pals. Do you recognize any of these characters? Photo by Will Maguire.

Jackie, below, at Jimmy Makuta's retirement party back in June 2008 with Sam Bertolet, at left, and Terry Flanagan, at right.

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1 comment:

Nell said...

I love and remember this story Jackie, thanks for sharing it!! We love and miss seeing your smiling "it's not a crime to rhyme" face on the beach working next to us, but you will always be with us in spirit :)