When Laurna told us she was running for vice president of our eighth grade class, we cheered, and then got down to work. She assembled us in her den to plan her campaign. Two of us were quite familiar with winning elections: our mothers had served on the Borough Council and my dad had run their campaigns.
We knew Laurna could deliver a killer address at the candidate assembly, but we needed something more. A theme. A slogan. A visual image. We like … Laurna. True, but dated. Tippy Canoe and Laurna too. That got her name out there, but the candidate for president didn’t paddle, as far as we knew. A log cabin: no, Laurna had a very nice house.
A nickname? Yes. One of our friends inexplicably called her “Banana” when he passed her in the halls. We could work with that.
And we did. Sprawled across the floor of Laurna’s den, we made posters: “Vote Banana: She’s Got A-Peel.” “Join the Bunch: Vote Banana.”
We made yellow paper pins in the shape of you-know-what, and handed them out in class.
We even made a five-foot long banana out of bulletin-board paper. We painted it yellow with a black stripe, stapled it around the edges, and stuffed it with newspaper. We weren’t exactly sure what we would do with it, but we were on a roll.
We saw ourselves as courtiers to Laurna’s queen. (Our political frames of reference weren’t terribly sophisticated.) We were committed. We believed in our candidate. And we were having enormous fun.
Posters, pins, even a giant banana.
But something was missing. Then I remembered that funny song my dad would sing when our fruit basket was empty: “Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today.”
Two minutes later, we had our campaign song.
Yes, we have a Banana, we have a Banana for you! She is charming, intelligent, dependable and sweet, Friendly, sociable, well-mannered and neat. Oh, yes, we have a Banana, we have a Banana for you!
And we had a use for our giant banana: why not march through the halls singing our campaign song? Why not blast it over the PA system after the pledge of allegiance? Why not shout it every chance we got, planting it in our voters’ ears?
Needless to say, Laurna won the election in a landslide. After all, she really is charming, intelligent, dependable and sweet.
And, after the newly elected president committed some impeachable offense, Laurna became our president.
To this day, when I tweak my resume, Laurna’s campaign song runs through my head. But no, we have only one Banana. Those tributes belong to her.