JFK BELIEVES IN THE “LITTLE PEOPLE”
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) We absolutely love to get email from visitors to our blog & the one from Jon Perdue this week was a wonderful surprise.
Jon Perdue’s brother, Mark, at the age of 10, wrote a letter to President Kennedy. The letter was written on March 5, 1963 as St. Patrick’s Day was to be celebrated later that month.
Thinking about the approaching Irish holiday & JFK’s Irish heritage, young Mark sat down & wrote the President of the United States.
Here is the text of that letter.
Dear President Kennedy,
I like you very much. I am in a special class in Fremont, California*. I am 10 years old. Where do the little people live? Do they live under bushes? Do they have horses? Can only the Irish see them? You are an Irishman, can you see them?
Mark Aaron Perdue
On March 14, 1963, JFK wrote the following letter to Mark in reply.**
THE WHITE HOUSE
March 14, 1963
I want to thank you for your nice letter. I enjoyed hearing from you and hearing about your school.
Your questions are quite pertinent, coming as they do just before St. Patrick’s Day. There are many legends about the ‘Little People’ but what they all add up to is this. If you really believe you will see them.
My ‘little people’ are very small, wear tall black stovepipe hats, green coats and pants, and have long white beards.
They do not have horses. I have never been able to determine where they live. They are most friendly and their message is that all the peoples of the world should live in peace and friendship.
Since you are interested in the Irish, I want to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
With every good wish to you and your brothers, Chris and David.
John F. Kennedy
Mr. Mark David Perdue
4670 Porter Street
*Fremont, named after John C. Fremont, known as the Pathfinder, is located in the SE section of the San Francisco Bay area. The Apple factory which produced the 1st Mac computer was located here. By 1999 the city had 750 high technology companies with offices, headquarters or production facilities located there.
**Mark’s brother, Jon David Perdue, said that it was necessary for the family to sell the original letter. Jon, however, was able to send me the text of the letter as published in their local newspaper at the time.
I typed the text in the same format of the letters I received from the White House during JFK’s presidency. One of those letters, written by Evelyn Lincoln, the President’s personal secretary, included a card signed by JFK. As I have stated before on this blog, I still have the original letter & autographed White House card.
In addition, Jon Perdue sent me a copy of a newspaper article which appeared in the Sunday Edition of The Daily Review of Hayward, California on March 17, 1963. Jon also sent me a copy of the photo which accompanied the article & which I have posted below.
The text of the article*** (less the text of Mark’s letter & JFK’s reply) follows:
Little People Query
JFK ANSWERS BOY’S NOTE
Fremont — Don’t try to tell 10 year old Mark Perdue that “the little people” don’t exist — you’ll never convince him.
Especially not in view of the fact that Mark has a letter from President Kennedy which assures him that “If you really believe, you will see them.”
Mark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn E. Perdue…..received the letter from the President yesterday in answer to the one he wrote asking about “the little people.”
The youngster, whose mother, Delores, says “is in love with the idea of leprechauns,” really didn’t expect a reply from the President and trembled excitedly as he opened the letter while his two brothers & parents looked on.
“This is really a thrill in my heart,” Mark said. “I really didn’t expect it would get through to the President and he might not have time to read it….but now that he did–I guess I’m about the luckiest kid in this town.”
***Source: Sunday Edition, The Daily Review, Hayward, California. March 17, 1963
Jon David, Mark & Chris Perdue
Photo by Al Silva
Courtesy of Jon Perdue