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PALM BEACH

November 25, 1961


 JFK enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holiday at Hyannis Port with his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.. This would be the last Thanksgiving Joe Kennedy was healthy. 


In December, Joe Sr. suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed & unable to walk, talk or care for himself.


Joe Kennedy, Sr. was in intensive care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida. 


Some years ago, I had an intern who lived in Morristown, TN. A neighbor of hers was visiting St. Mary’s when JFK’s father was there. 


When JFK emerged from the hospital, she asked if she could make a photograph. The President consented and she made his picture. 


That evening she realized she had forgotten to put film in the camera. So the next day she was back at the hospital once again as was the President. Once again, she asked if she could take his photograph explaining that she did not have film in the camera the day before. JFK graciously took the time to let her try it again.


My intern was able to get a copy of the photograph for me. JFK is standing alone in front of his white Lincoln convertible with its top down. He is dressed casually and the photograph is in color. JFK is smiling, of course, and what is notable to me about the photo is it looks just like any color photo that you would have made of a family member back in 1961. It does not have that “professional” look and that’s what makes it unique.


How many Presidents, or for that matter, “important” people, would take their time to let a total stranger make his photograph, not just once, but twice? I think it shows how caring a person JFK was.


I am reading now in “The Kennedy Detail” how secret service agents experienced the same concern from the man they were guarding. 


In Palm Beach, he would go out to the agents standing in the sun on the beach & give some of his short sleeve shirts to them because he thought they looked uncomfortable.


 As he was heading out of his Georgetown home on his way to the 1961 Inaugural, he asked a secret service agent to step inside for a few minutes to warm up.

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