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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

FORT SUMTER HOUSE HOTEL

JUNE 30, 2012

FORT SUMTER HOUSE HOTEL

Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) We are vacationing in downtown Charleston, South Carolina for the next few days.


Today we drove down to the BATTERY & passed the historic FORT SUMTER HOUSE at 1 King Street.


The Fort Sumter House, One King Street, Photo by John White, 2012


The Fort Sumter House was built in 1923 & described as “the only luxury hotel on the Peninsula.”*


*Today the Fort Sumter House is no longer a hotel but luxury condominiums. 


The Fort Sumter House, Charleston, S.C. Photo by John White, 2012


In January 1942, John F. Kennedy stayed at the Fort Sumter House with his girlfriend, INGA MARIE ARVAD, during 2 weekends.**


Inga, a former Miss Denmark, had been introduced to JFK in Washington by his sister Kathleen who was a co-worker at the Washington Times-Herald.


Their relationship lasted from the Fall of 1941 to late February 1942. 


Because the FBI suspected Inga of being a Nazi spy, Jack & Inga’s room at the Fort Sumter House was bugged & the telephone tapped.


JFK had been transferred by the US NAVY to a desk job in Charleston on January 12, 1942 because of his relationship with Inga, but she visited him here 3 times.


The 1st 2 weekends they spent together at the Fort Sumter House Hotel & the 3rd at the FRANCES MARION HOTEL.


Frances Marion Hotel, King Street, Charleston, S.C. Photo by John White, 2012

 

 While they spent most of the time in their room, they apparently found time to go shopping on KING STREET & attend mass at the CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.


**Inga was 28 years old in the fall of 1941 while JFK was 24.  Jack’s ‘pet name’ for his girlfriend was “Inga Binga”.


SOURCE:  www.charlestonstage.com







A VISIT TO HISTORIC TELLIS PHARMACY

JUNE 29, 2012

A VISIT TO HISTORIC TELLIS PHARMACY

Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) We are vacationing in downtown Charleston, South Carolina for the next few days.


Yesterday I visited the historic TELLIS PHARMACY located at 125 King Street here in the city.


When we visited Charleston in 2007, we saw the beautiful old TELLIS PHARMACY neon sign hanging out in front of the store.


Tellis Pharmacy Neon Sign, King Street, Charleston, S.C. Photo by John White, 2012

In yesterday’s edition of THE POST AND COURIER they ran a front page story titled “Tellis Pharmacy to shut doors after 60 years.”  The article is written by Warren L. Wise.


Mr. Wise writes that 60 years ago VERA TELLIS & her brother, TONY, graduated from pharmacy school & opened their drug store. 


The drug store did a booming business, but over the years that business has declined due to surrounding stores being replaced by parking lots & office buildings.


Tomorrow the doors of TELLIS PHARMACY “will close for good.”


VERA TELLIS, who is now 80, took over as pharmacist in 1988.  She said that now after the passing of 60 years in the business, “It’s about time (to close).”


The building was purchased by JAMES ANTHONY TELLIS in 1946 & in 1952, VERA & her brother opened the drugstore.*


*Yesterday afternoon I walked down King Street & through the front door of Tellis Pharmacy.  There I met ALICE TELLIS CRITIKOS & her sister, VERA TELLIS.


I told them I wanted to drop by & tell them how sorry I was to hear that they are closing the drugstore.  I looked around, signed their famous guestbook & had a picture made with these lovely ladies. 


Alice Tellis Critikos, John White & Vera Tellis, Tellis Pharmacy, King Street, Charleston, S.C., June 28, 2012



     


A VISIT TO THE OLD SLAVE MART MUSEUM

JUNE 28, 2012

A VISIT TO THE OLD SLAVE MART MUSEUM

Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) We are vacationing in downtown Charleston, South Carolina for the next few days.


Today I visited THE OLD SLAVE MART MUSEUM located a 6 Chalmers Street.


The Old Slave Mart Museum, 6 Chalmers Street, Charleston, S.C. Photo by John White, 2012


             

The Museum is in one of the original buildings known as RAMS MART where slave traders came to buy & sell slaves in the mid 19th Century.


One of the 1st displays includes a recording made by Elijah Green who was born on King Street in Charleston in 1943.


Augustus Ladson of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) made this & other recordings of former slaves in 1937.


The original Old Slave Mart Museum opened the following year, 1938.


As a history teacher I knew that “prime” slaves sold for about $1500, but I learned today that in the value of today’s money that would be more than $30,000.


The museum includes a lower & upper floor.  The admission price is very reasonable: $7 adults, $5 children/seniors.


You can find more information by checking out their website at www.oldslavemart.org. 


THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV II

JUNE 27, 2012

THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV II

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 11 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 11 is The Showdown with Khrushchev.


Kenneth O’Donnell tells us that while JFK was determined to avoid nuclear war, he “was equally determined not to back away from a threat of such a war if there was no other means of stopping the Soviets from dominating the Western world.”


JFK came into office believing his 1st duty was to convince Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev that the United States would risk nuclear war in order to defend our position of world leadership.


Early on the agenda, however, was a visit to Europe which would include a summit meeting in VIENNA with Mr. Khrushchev.


One difficulty presented itself when the Soviets objected to JFK’s airport arrival & motorcade to the U.S. Embassy.  They felt this would upstage the Chairman’s coming to Vienna on a train with no scheduled parade.


Kenny writes that the European trip would be a “painful physical ordeal” for JFK because he had dislocated the muscles at the base of his spine while planting a tree during his earlier visit to Ottawa.


During the visit to France before going to Vienna, JFK would climb into a bathtub plated with gold in his apartment at the Quai d’Orsay to relieve his aching back.


Kenny says JFK was impressed by the bathtub & said:


“God, we ought to have a tub like this in the White House.”

THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV I

JUNE 26, 2012

THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV I

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we begin our report of Chapter 11 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 11 is The Showdown with Khrushchev.


Kenneth O’Donnell says that all of JFK’s “other” accomplishments were overshadowed by the Berlin crisis of 1961 & the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.


As British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan put it:


“If Kennedy never did another thing, he assured his place in history by (the) single act (of risking nuclear war to force the USSR to remove its missiles from Cuba).”


Kenny tells this story which I remember was included in some of the JFK tribute documentaries following the assassination.


President Kennedy was in a discussion with his science adviser, Jerome Wiesner, one rainy afternoon when JFK asked how the fallout from atomic explosions returned to earth from the upper atmosphere.


Wiesner answered, “It comes down in rain.”


JFK looked out the windows of the Oval Office & said, “You mean there might be radioactive contamination in that rain out there right now?”


Wiesner responded, “Possibly.”


Kenny tells us that JFK just sat there looking out the window at the rain for several minutes without saying a word.   Kenny adds that he had never seen the President so depressed.*


*JFK told Kenny privately….”I keep thinking of the children…..all over the world (who are potential victims of a nuclear war).”

THE WHITE HOUSE VIII

JUNE 25, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE VIII

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we conclude our report of Chapter 10 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 10 is THE WHITE HOUSE.


Kenneth O’Donnell writes that the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation “brought several significant changes in the Kennedy administration.”


The Central Intelligence Agency was put under tighter control & Director Allen Dulles was replaced by John McCone.


Kenny says “The White House staff became more involved in foreign & defense affairs.”


Mac Bundy’s office was moved from the EOB to the White House basement.


General Maxwell Taylor became chairman of the Joint Chiefs & the Attorney General was brought on board to assist in handling “urgent problems” in the Defense & State Departments.


Kenny tells us that with Bobby’s “wider & more influential role” came a “wider circle of influential friends from the liberal intellectual set in Washington.”


He goes on to say that despite not being “a simple man but many different simple men,” Bobby Kennedy “was always the kindest man we ever knew.”


Kenny concludes with the recollection of Dave Powers who remembered JFK talking about his younger brother’s courage during the Cuban Missile Crisis, particularly in standing against an air strike.


JFK said:


“Thank God for Bobby.”


THE WHITE HOUSE VII

JUNE 24, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE VII

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 10 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 10 is THE WHITE HOUSE.


Kenneth O’Donnell discusses the BAY OF PIGS.


He begins on a positive note by writing that “those who were with (JFK) during the sad night….when he heard the news of the defeat & capture of the Cuban rebels…..remember it as one of his most courageous moments.”


Kenny argues that any other President of the United States would have given in to his military advisers & would have ordered American forces to attack Cuba “to save himself from (the) humiliation (of defeat).”


Ken reminds us that the operation, initiated in the Eisenhower administration, was primarily the work of the CIA under Director Allen Dulles & his deputy Richard Bissell but also with the approval of the Joint Chiefs.


The one thing JFK did insist on, however, was that AMERICAN FORCES would take NO PART in the invasion.*


*The CIA had trained a brigade of 1400 anti-Castro Cuban refugees for the invasion which was targeted for April 17, 1961.


After the news came that the invasion had failed, Kenny says President Kennedy “had little to say to anybody.”


At a press conference, JFK took full blame for the failure.  He said:


“There’s an old saying that victory had a hundred fathers & defeat is an orphan.”


He added that as the “responsible officer of the government,” only he could be blamed.


In private, Kenny writes that JFK wondered aloud “why the Joint Chiefs & the CIA had expected the small landing force….to survive?”


In answer to his own question, Kenny says JFK concluded that the Joint Chiefs & CIA had expected him to give in & order the use of U.S. forces in Cuba.


The Bay of Pigs Monument, Little Havana, Miami, Florida, Photo by Infrogmation, 2007.


            

THE WHITE HOUSE VI

JUNE 23, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE VI

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 10 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 10 is THE WHITE HOUSE.


Kenneth O’Donnell tells us that JFK did not like to swim in the White House pool alone so he would have Dave Powers or another friend join him.


JFK swam twice a day in the pool which was heated to a temperature of 90 degrees in order to “relax & ease” the back pain he suffered.


This book, 1st published in 1970, came at a time the war in Vietnam was still being fought.  Kenny writes that while people at the time thought the war was of key importance in the Kennedy years, but, in fact, was “a minor problem.”


It was minor in relationship to the Communist attempt to take over LAOS as well as the crisis in Cuba in 1961 & then again in 1962.


As far as the war in Southeast Asia, Kenny reminds us that President Kennedy led the United States through 3 difficult years “without sending a single U.S. military combat unit into action.”




THE WHITE HOUSE V

JUNE 22, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE V

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 10 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 10 is THE WHITE HOUSE.


Kenneth O’Donnell continues his discussion of JFK’s busiest day as President, September 25, 1962.


JFK would be attending a performance of the musical comedy, “Mr. President.”*


Kenny says that the President told him that one of the songs in the show was titled “The Secret Service Makes Me Nervous.”  JFK added….‘you can imagine how much like the White House (the show) must be.’


Kenny writes that Dave Powers would go along & that because JFK hated to be alone at night, Dave was “on call” to keep him company when Jackie was away.


On those night, the routine was always the same.  They would dine on broiled chicken or lamb chops in the 2nd floor apartment & then watch TV or sit on the Truman Balcony.


Dave would take advantage of the situation by drinking “several bottles of (JFK’s) Heineken’s beer.”


Then after saying his prayers, JFK would climb into bed around 11 o’clock & say to Dave:


“Good night, pal, will you please put out the light.”


*After the show, JFK went backstage at the NATIONAL THEATER to visit with Robert Ryan  who played the title role.


National Theater, Washington, D.C. Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid at en.wikipedia.


                   

THE WHITE HOUSE IV

JUNE 21, 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE IV

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 10 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.



The title of Chapter 10 is THE WHITE HOUSE.


Kenneth O’Donnell tells us that during the White House years “very few small details about the running of the government escaped (JFK).”


Sometimes, however, JFK made so many appointments for visitors that Kenny & Dave “ran out of waiting room space.”


One such day was September 25, 1962 which Kenny describes as “the longest & busiest working day of any President of the United States in modern times.”


JFK had 15 appointments during the day & then a theater & dance appearance that evening.


One of the appointments was with old PT109 shipmate Barney Ross who brought along BEN KEVU, the Solomon Islands native who carried JFK’s coconut shell message.


JFK’s Coconut Shell Desk Display, JFK Library Image



JFK gave Ben 6 PT-109 ties clasps, one for each of his children.


As Ben was leaving the Oval Office, JFK said to Dave Powers:


“Just think of it, Dave.  If it wasn’t for Ben Kevu, you wouldn’t be here in the White House today.”*


*JFK also met with the Prime Minister of Australia, Robert G. Menzies & attended the swearing-in of W. Willard Wirtz as his new Secretary of Labor. 


He also manged to attend the performance of a group of Mexican dancers in the Rose Garden.

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