One last afternoon
With one last afternoon here before we needed to head off to Logan Airport for our flight home, we chose to visit what we felt was possibly the only place in the city that could rival the inspiring Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: The John F Kennedy Presidential Library.
On such a beautiful afternoon, it couldn't have been in a more picturesque spot, though road works all around made access rather tricky.
It sounds a bit trite to say "it's the normal Presidential Library stuff", but that's exactly what we found inside. We had been here on our first visit to Boston as well, twenty odd years ago and it was our first experience of such a place. Since then, we've added to our collection here and there and have visited most of the fourteen Presidential Libraries and Museums on our travels around the USA.
Whilst it's always good to see the artefacts which refer to familiar themes and events, like this large print copy of his inaugural address, what I enjoy most is getting an insight to the personality of the man himself from watching the video presentations and less formal photographs. Here, the overall impression we both took away was one of a highly intelligent, literate man: Stark contrast to today's leader, for sure.
Looking over his desk in the Oval Office, we reflected on the fact that JFK was of a slightly older generation to our fathers. Yet, his untimely death means the prevailing image is one of a perpetually younger man; handsome, dashing and with huge charisma, no doubt.
On this, the centenary of his birth, there was a special exhibition marking the occasion with 100 carefully selected objects from his life.
The first was a card index, owned by Rose Kennedy, his mother.
I suppose with nine children, it made sense to keep accurate records to avoid getting mixed up!
I found this paragraph of handwriting rather interesting, written as it was by Ernest Hemingway in a very spidery script. I was glad it turned out to be a draft - how embarrassing to find such a wonky piece of writing preserved for evermore! But then, thinking about it, isn't that exactly what's happened?! Is anything written by EH anything but something to be preserved?
So there we were, at the end of his story which ended all too soon. The events in Dallas were all too familiar somehow, even though I don't remember the day first hand at all. We watched the footage and wondered "what if?" as I'm sure many do.
What a man.
Our journey home was trouble free, but such a short flight - just under 6 hours - there isn't much time for sleep. I woke from the nearest point to the Land of Nod that I managed, to a beautiful dawn somewhere over Wales.
By the time we were over our little corner of the country, the clouds were parting and it was turning out to be another beautiful day.
The best bit is, we are home. There's no place like it.