Posted tagged ‘John F Kennedy’

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.”

January 21, 2013

My head is ready to erupt if I cough one more time. When I call my friends, they think it is some guy making an obscene phone call. I’m tempted. Last night was a bad one. First was the mouse in the trap then the mouse out of the trap. I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed so the mouse, after making all sorts of noise, escaped. Fern noticed it and jumped off the bed but didn’t catch it. That’s the first time Fern has seen one so we’re making some progress. The Pats lost, but I went to bed early and missed the ending so the pain was lessened.

I’m watching the hoopla of the Inauguration. Whether you agree with the choice for President or not, you have to admit the inauguration is powerful. It is the peaceful transition of power, a continuing of traditions going all the way back to George Washington. It’s filled with color, with red, white and blue, and music from glee clubs and military bands. Jimmy Carter and his wife are now being seated. I always liked him. He has become the most amazing ex-President. The Clintons got quite a reception. She deserved it. I’m curious about Mr. Obama’s speech. He had such hope 4 years ago. We all did.

I remember watching President Kennedy’s inauguration and the smoke coming from under the podium when Richard Cardinal Cushing gave his invocation. I remember Robert Frost couldn’t read his poem in the sun and had to recite one from memory. I had a connection to President Kennedy. He was from Massachusetts so I couldn’t miss his inauguration. I don’t remember any other inaugurations except President Obama’s first. It was historical and not to be missed.

In the stands, there are no hats on the heads of the women. Well I did see one hat, an ugly hat some unknown woman was wearing as she walked toward the outside seating area. I have no idea who she is, but she gets the ugly hat award. I remember when the men wore top hats. Now a few are wearing fedoras but most are hatless. The men are wearing top coats so that style hasn’t changed. Ties will never go out of style.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”

November 6, 2012

Last night was cold, but this morning the sun has made an appearance making me think Mother Nature is feeling apologetic for the last few days and for the storm expected tomorrow. When I woke up, earlier than usual, the house was cold. The furnace, programmed for leisurely mornings, for sleeping-in mornings, hadn’t yet warmed the house. I put on my slippers and my sweatshirt and we all, the dog, cats and I, went downstairs, and I right away turn up the heat and put on the coffee. When I went outside to get the papers, the air felt brisk.

Voter turnout is always greater on a sunny day.

The first election which caught my attention was in 1960 when John F. Kennedy ran for president. He was a local boy, the senator from Massachusetts, so he was my candidate. I watched the debate. I remember how bad Nixon looked. I remember only one issue from that debate: the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. I think their names have a neat sound so they stuck in my brain all this time as did the drawn maps of their positions relative to China. I remember the wooden pointers both men used. Kennedy and Nixon, of course, disagreed as to their importance. I have no idea about those islands now.

I was proud to wear my Kennedy buttons and still have the three of them. One is of a smiling Kennedy with his name across the top, another just says Kennedy for President. My favorite is a huge white button which says, “If I were twenty-one, I’d vote for Kennedy.”

I remember, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” which was Barry Goldwater’s catch phrase. I thought its portent was scary. His bumper sticker, though, is still a favorite of mine: AuH20=1964. I wonder how many people were flummoxed by what they thought was math.

It seemed to take forever until I was old enough to vote, but, finally, the summer before my senior year in college I turned twenty-one. I voted for the first time in 1968. My choice was ever so easy. Never could I vote for Richard Nixon. Besides, I really did believe Hubert Humphrey would have made a good President.

“Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right…”

October 23, 2012

My temperature gauge let me know the morning was cold. When I got out of bed, Gracie burrowed. She pushed the covers to the bottom of the bed and snuggled. Gracie, a creature of comfort, had made her own nest of warmth. She was right about the cold house. It was early and the heat had yet to come on so I needed a sweatshirt and warm slippers, but by the time I got downstairs,  the heat was blowing. Soon enough the house was warm.

The day is beautiful and will be in the 60’s. I need to fill the bird feeders and do a couple of errands. Yesterday I was a sloth.

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile was yesterday. I remember watching the flickering black and white television when President Kennedy announced the blockade of Cuba and warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be construed as an act of war, and that the United States would retaliate in kind. I was in high school, old enough to understand we were in crisis and nuclear war was a possibility. I had learned duck and cover in grammar school, but when the President made his announcement, we all knew duck and cover was naive, that nuclear weapons would be devastating: destroying cities and killing untold numbers of people. I remember hearing the announcement that the Soviets ships delivering the missiles had not yet turned back. On the TV were maps depicting the positions of their ships and ours and how close their ships were to the American naval blockade. All of us were scared to death. We had grown up with the Cold War, and the Soviet Union had always been the bad guy.

We waited thirteen days for the crisis to end. The longer we had to wait the more frightened we became. It was all we talked about on the bus ride to school, in school, at lunch and while standing in groups outside after lunch. We thought our world was going to end.

On October 28th Khrushchev announced he would dismantle the missile installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union. The US agreed not to invade Cuba. The world sighed in unison.

We wouldn’t know for years the backstage negotiations between Khrushchev and Kennedy. All we knew was we had been on the brink of war for thirteen days. I remember all of it, but I remember the fear most of all.


%d bloggers like this: