Monthly Archives: November 2013

My Kennedy Memories

Dear Readers,

     This month being the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assasination, it seemed an appropriate time to blog my JFK memories from my journal.  I was a teenager and very naive about the political world…

 

     MY KENNEDY MEMORIES- Journal Entry, August 2008

     I decided it is time to write every memory I have of the John F. Kennedy family, since my mother owned a house in Hyannisport, close enough to John’s summer home that we could see in their windows.  Mom owned the "Anchor Inn" which was directly across the street from the famous Cape Cod post office.

     I was a senior at Auburn High School, in Auburn, Massachusetts when John ran for president.  My sister Teresa and I were too young to vote but together we campaigned for JFK.  We covered our yellow and white 1953 Chevy Bel Air with posters and parked it every day in front of mom’s package store on Auburn Street, which angered her because she was a Republican.  We drove all over town election day and went to bed that night thinking John lost the election.  Much to our surprise the next morning, we discovered he had won by a slim margin.  "An average of one vote per princinct" we were told years later.

     The years that followed the election were exciting.  I was 17 when I graduated and spent summers down the Cape.  Since my mother owned the "Anchor Inn" just one short block from John and Jackie’s house in Hyannisport, we were located directly across the street from the famous little Hyannisport Post Office, where residents still picked up their own mail.

      I remember one day playing badmitten in the front yard and seeing a beautiful convertible with the top down, pull up and park at the post office.  Walking over to our white picket fence that surrounded our yard, I spotted a handsome man driving.  I realized the white pants and blue polo shirt were being worn by our new President who was standing about 25′ away from me.  My heart went all a flutter!  I waved and shouted to him, "Hello Mr. President!"  And he shouted back, "Hello there!"  Even though in real life, I thought he looked thinner than on television, he was still good looking for sure.  Shortly after that, the Kennedy’s stopped picking up their own mail.

     Across the street from our Inn, the government sectioned off the whole block surrounding John’s house so people couldn’t get close to the JFK home anymore.  I remember bringing lemonade and coffee to the guards posted at the intersections 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We could still walk down those roads because by law, residents couldn’t be stopped from walking the streets; only traffic.  That caused mom’s Inn to fill up with tourists who just wanted to walk by the Kennedy Compound.  Also, because it was so conveniently located, many of John’s secret service people, and his family doctors and nurses stayed at mom’s place as well.

     I remember, at the mischievous age of 17, one day I was upstairs staring out my bedroom window with my father’s binoculars.  I could see right into the Kennedy’s upstairs rooms.  I could actually see John and Jackie walking around in their house by the sea.  The next thing I knew someone was knocking on our front door.  It was a Secret Service guy and I could hear him talking to mom downstairs, "Someone is looking out the upstairs window with binoculars at the President!  Could we have those binoculars please!"  Boy, was my mother angry at me that day!  We never saw my deceased father’s binoculars again.  Shortly after that, an 8’to10′ high stockade fence (not sure about the height) went up around the Kennedy home.

     Another time, hearing the President’s helicopter overhead, I went running down the street with my sister.  We watched as John landed and exited the aircraft with his family.  They had come to spend the weekend at Cape Cod.  They landed in their neighbor’s yard because their yard wasn’t large enough for a helicopter to set down.  Later that weekend, lying on the beach with my siblings, I remember watching the Kennedy family jumping into the ocean off their yacht, swimming and having fun together.  We all got a bad sunburn from staying on the beach to long that day.

     I also remember Caroline and John-John riding their bikes up and down the closed-off street opposite our Inn.  John-John was on his trike and Caroline on her little two-wheel bike with training wheels.  Guards and Secret Service men were posted everywhere, as the children played.

     One Sunday morning I was trying to get into our overpacked church, and I pushed my way up the side aisle looking for a seat, only to be left standing there because the seats were all crowded with tourists.  Frustrated, I glanced to my right, and realized I was standing directly beside where Jackie, John, and the kids were sitting.  After mass was over, my sister and I raced out the side exit and stood at the front of the roped off area, hoping, out of the three exits our church had, that the President would pick that door to leave.  He did!  When John came by us he shook both our hands and asked, "Are you twins?"  My sister and I were giggling so much we just shook our heads no.  And then the Kennedys were quickly whisked off to a big limousine that was waiting for them.

     I remember one time my kid brother, got in a fight with Bobby Kennedy’s kids and my mother had to speak to him about it.  Robert’s children were very spoiled.  All of them!  But, so was my little brother!

     Those years went quickly in my life.  I graduated high school, went to work in the payroll department of Reed and Prince Manufacturing Company, and got married, all during Jack’s presidency.

     There were frightening times too.  When the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, challenged President Kennedy, my hubby was still in the Navy Reserves and on call through that whole crisis.  I was sure we were going to war and I would lose him, but John stood his ground and Castro and the Russians backed down and removed all the nuclear warheads from Cuba.  That was the scariest week of my young life.

     I was at work at Reed and Prince Manufacturing when I got word of John’s assasination.  I ran to the ladies restroom because I couldn’t control my tears.  The whole country stopped working that week and mourned.  We glued ourselves to the television for days as history all came together.  The assasination, the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, the murder of Oswald, the arrest of Jack Ruby, and of course the wake and funeral of the youngest President the United States ever had.  (I still have the thank you card that Jackie sent out to all the people who mailed their regards to her.)  Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in and finished the rest of John’s term.

     Not long after that crisis Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were also assasinated.  The 60’s were threatening times!  Many people had bomb shelters in their basements filled with canned goods, flashlights, and water, just in case of a nuclear attack.

     In 2006, I went to Dallas, Texas and walked the area where the crime happened.  I stood in the window where the government said Oswald was when he shot the President.  All I could think of while I stood there was, "No way, no way could Lee Harvery have done all that, from this distance!"  Standing in that window, I relived all the memories of my youth.  I was so deep in thought my husband eventually pulled me away in tears.

     Well, I’ve finally written them.  My memories of JFK; pretty much all I can remember of my own personal experiences.  Thank you for reading.

                          Love in Christ,  Claire  xoxo 

 

 

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Rainman

Dear Readers,

     This blog story brings back fond memories of a very special young man that I worked with years ago…

 

     RAINMAN   Journal Entry- May 9, 2002

 

     Rainman!  That’s what I called him.  Actually, he’s Raymond, a young special needs employee who is teased, harassed, and degraded because of his physical problems.  Ray is a powerful man of God!  He never ever hesitates to talk about the Lord, quote his bible, or speak openly about Jesus to everyone.  He single handedly is bringing together a group of reborn Christian employees.  One by one by one he gets people to open up about how they feel about God.  Rather than be silent and hide his faith in the work environment, he takes harassment and even threats from his coworkers in the maintenance department and continues to bring the Word of God to anyone who will listen.  His own foreman threatened to bring him up on charges and get him fired for harassment, because he reads his bible at work and quotes scripture to people in answer to many of their questions.

     I’m so proud of Ray because I know he is not a fighter in his heart, but still he stands up to the bullies.  He went to management and told them how his boss threatened him.  That took great courage, lots of it.  The amazing thing is, this foreman, when he came to work at our company, was also a man who read his bible and talked about God.  But, like many others who come to this difficult workplace, he has turned his back on that part of his life and joined the wrong group. 

     Psalm 37 was pointed out to me by Raymond.  This brings me great comfort.  It tells how God will deal with these kinds of problems in our lives if we stay faithful and remain in prayer, trusting that God has control and a plan for all of it.

     There are some things I don’t like to write about, but I must write them if I feel led to, and I feel led to write this.  Warnings and messages come to me at the strangest times.  Twice, at work recently, I received these manifestations;  once while I was training a couple of new backup dispatchers.  In my Spirit, for some reason, I’m very uncomfortable spending so much time with these trainees.  I try very hard to keep my Christian comments in check, but it seems recently that God doesn’t want that of me.  Other employees at work are openly declaring their faith, their prayers, and their beliefs.  The Lord seems to want that of me as well.  But I’ve noticed, He is choosing where and when.

     On my down time, while training, I have occasions to witness to these trainees.  Recently, one of my students asked, "How is your deaf granddaughter doing?"

     This was an opportunity to mention God to her.  I jumped on it, "She’s doing great!  Her hearing is improving and we think she’s had a miracle!"  I went on, but as I continued with my story, a strange warning jumped into the middle of my words and stopped me cold.  "Do not cast your pearls before swine," I heard.  It was so profound that it blocked out the sound of my own voice as I spoke and I hesitated to finish my conversation.  I looked down at the ground and sighed deeply.  I actually had to catch my breath before continuing.

     "I don’t know if you believe in these things, " I went on speaking and then quickly finished, feeling like I shouldn’t even be finishing my story.  For a moment after that I felt like I failed God.  However, I realized later that maybe He was telling me not to waste my stories on this nonbeliever.  I had been uncomfortable around this person before, but now the feeling was so strong that I hesitated to speak of God or my private life at all.

     These kinds of warnings are happening more and more every day at work.  But then there are other messages that also take my breath away!  Like a couple days ago when, as I walked past a parked bus, and heard voices from inside the vehicle shouting out to me, "Ask her about it!  Claire, come here please!"  So, I stepped onto the bus.

     "Tell Richard about inviting Jesus into his life and how he won’t be sorry!" shouted faithful Rainman.

     This golden opportunity to witness to a sweet young father of two was presented to me instantaneously.  Here stood a frightened young man.  He was about to get hit by our next inpending layoff.  He was also feeling very torn between union members tugging him into their direction, and Raymond on the other side, trying to tell him, "Jesus is the Way and He’ll take care of you and your family!"  Instantly, I felt the warmth in my Spirit to speak, with not even a moment to pray.  As Ray excitedly expressed how close Rich was to making a decision about Christ, I began to speak from my heart, and the words magically exited my mouth.

     "Well, you wouldn’t be talking about this at this very moment, here at work, if you weren’t this close (I pinched my fingers together) to making the most important decision of your life, Richie!  So, I’m not going to be the one who doesn’t plant another small seed to help get you there!  You will never ever ever regret inviting Jesus into your life!  And, it’s really simple!  All you have to do is ask for God to forgive you of all your sins, accept Jesus as the Son of God, and invite Him to come into your heart forever!  It’s that easy!  I’m not saying everything in your life will be perfect now, but God doesn’t make mistakes!"

      I stood there only for a few more seconds and looked at the longing in this boy’s troubled eyes.  I glanced at Rainman and saw the excitement in his eyes!  Seizing that special moment, I whisked off the bus and realized, probably for the first time, that the Lord was showing me the real reason I was still at the bus company; God wasn’t finished with me yet!

 

                         Love in Christ,  Claire  xoxo

 

PS  Thank you Father for Raymond and his powerful witness.

 

Psalms 37:1-4, "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.  Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  (NIV) 

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