Family Lore – A Fan Meeting

This is how she told the story, maybe 100 times, over almost 20 years:

Harpers

Harpers, Kings Highway and East 12th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1961

” It was a cold autumn day. I was trying on clothes in Harpers on Kings Highway, and all of a sudden everybody started yelling and running out of the store. I had no coat on, I was wearing my own skirt with Harpers’ blouse, but I ran out, too.

” Everyone was shouting JFK! JFK! I never saw such a crowd. They were pushing their way up to the car. It was stopped and he was shaking hands with people.

Presidential Candidate,Sen. John F.Kennedy,Jr. campaigning in NYC. Source: New York Times

Presidential Candidate,Sen. John F.Kennedy,Jr. campaigning in NYC. Source: New York Times

“I ran up and he looked right at me, he shook my hand – he pointed at me and said, ‘[G]o back inside – you look cold.’

He was probably freezing because it was chilly. But, he was so nice and you know, he’s even better looking in person. Such nice eyes.

Well,I bought that blouse – you know the one. Creme silk with a creme satin collar. Very sheer.”

30 thoughts on “Family Lore – A Fan Meeting

    • It got its share of retelling. I’ve been thinking about is a lot lately in connection with the fan dissatisfaction over the Hobbit Fan Event and the approach of the 50th anniversary of the date JFK was killed.

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      • Great writing. Super spare. Every word necessary, nothing superfluous, so the reader can concentrate on what’s important, and the topic is immediately evident from the pictures. A model blog entry, indeed.

        Where I live, there’s been an active search for memories, journals and lately they’ve been advertising to find out if anyone had Super-8. A few years ago I read Wm Manchester’s book about the leadup to the assassination and the event itself (fascinating, I’m sure you’ve read it) and what’s clear to me after reading that now is just how memories age to be unrecognizable. There’s a great book about “flash-bulb memory” and the Kennedy Assassination by Yael Zerubavel that discusses how the media affected the process.

        Did you see the story in the NYT today about Jackie’s outfit?

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        • Thanks. I “remember” it so well-partly because of TV retrospectives and also because my father had a set of Time and Life books with loads of photos. I have them now. . I also remember that the suit did not look as pink as it does now in the NYT photos or the books and was described as mauve. My father always thought that she refused to change her clothes because she wanted to irritate Johnson.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it. On 60 Minutes last night, they did a feature on the photographer who took the NYT photo in the blog and showed several photos taken from the same press trip.

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  1. Fantastic story, Perry, clearly a treasured part of your family lore. I went through a time in my teens when I couldn’t get enough about the Kennedy’s – I just lapped up biographies on them, every last glamorous detail.

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  2. Thanks Katharine. I felt the same way about the family, partly based on my parents’ and brothers’ admiration of JFK. I wonder though, whether there would have been a presidency if today’s reporting standards and social media outlets were in play back in 1960.

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    • The “coverage” of the JFK assassination was sort of a milestone in reporting, by all accounts. And yeah, I wonder too if the Kennedys’ peccadilloes could have been concealed if they were occurring now.

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      • I guess it was a milestone, not just because of the day itself and the quick reports, but because every step of the proceedings was documented,most of it live, including the killing of Oswald. I can’t think how many times I’ve seen it all, and this week it’s been everywhere. One of the books I mentioned is called “Four Days.” I think some of it happened over Thanksgiving.

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