On Wednesday, November 6 twelve members of the Redeemer family traveled to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in its handsome I. M. Pei building on Columbia Point. We were all bowled over by its views of the Boston skyline and the harbor. It is fifty years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. To mark this occasion--- in addition to the permanent exhibit that tells the story of the president and the Kennedy White House---the library has mounted a special exhibition on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Everyone agreed that it was a learning experience for all of us---especially the secret tapes that document the discussions of the president and his advisors.
Although our leaders Margery Kennelly and Karla Todd were not born during the Kennedy administration, the visit was a nostalgic one for most of us. We all remembered where we were and our reactions when we heard the news that the president had been shot. Sally Hurlbut was assisting with a neurosurgical operation at the MGH when an announcement came over the P.A. system. When asked what she thought at the time, she said she registered it and they all continued with the surgery without missing a beat. Betty Swinton was listening to the radio in the kitchen. At first she thought that the announcement was black humor from one of the many Mort Sahl-type political comedians of the time---and, it was in bad taste. After several minutes, she realized it was a news bulletin and began to cry. The Cuban Missile Crisis exhibition reminded Carol Post Pfaelzer that she was in her college dorm glued to the television set scared to death at the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon. Others, also, remember being numb with fear.
There were sunnier reminiscences as well. At the sight of Jackie Kennedy’s pill box hat and cherry red suit, Bunny Bianchi remarked that we all tried to dress like the young first lady. Several of us owned and loved a suit of the same color as Jackie’s. We all remembered little Caroline’s pony Macaroni and the family’s happy times on Cape Cod and in the White House so beautifully illustrated in black and white photographs.
We were promised breathtaking views with our delicious box lunches in the glass-enclosed Pavilion. Two round tables and a rectangular buffet table made our group an exhibit in this enormous space. Hordes of school children looked at us as we ate our lunches---and we looked back. Of course, we exited through the gift shop. Join us on our next outing. We had a good time.