It is hard to believe that it was 32 years ago, on October 16, 1978, that Pope John Paul II was elected.
I remember the day — rather the evening — well. I was working with the MaineLine Fence Company in the very tippy top of Northern Maine, putting in guardrails along a new stretch of U.S.1 in Fort Kent and Madawaska. After a long, long day in driving snow, the crew went to a bar for dinner: two bourbons and a beer, and we were sitting at the bar when the news came on: A Polish Pope.
Little could I imagine that within a month, I would be working as an artist-illustrator at the Catholic News Service in Washington, DC, a miracle if ever there were one.
From there, I had the opportunity to watch the pontificate of Pope John Paul from the vantage point of a Catholic journalist, from DC, to Baton Rouge, to Toronto and then to Buffalo.
Here is a clip from that day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K_iBXbE3UI
The following June, I was at the Catholic News Service when the Pope made his triumphal visit to Poland. You can see the excitement he generated at this old CBS News clip: http://cnettv.cnet.com/1979-john-paul-ii-poland/9742-1_53-50031835.html