Saturday, August 09, 2008

Kennedy, holidays and life

This holiday, so far, is shaping up to be a great mixture of adventure, connection and relaxation.

We spent the whole day yesterday with Jay. We had a leisurely breakfast at his 'normal' coffee place, Panero's Bakery and then wandered the Coolidge Corner area.

On the corner of Beacon and Beals we noticed a sign that pointed us to JFK's birthplace and we decided to explore. We came upon a stately old house on this beautiful street filled with stately old houses - most of which seem to be converted to apartment houses.

The Park Service has created an interesting museum/showplace out of this old home. The Kennedys only lived there until John was 3 and before Joe became fabulously wealthy.

We took the guided tour ($3 a person) and had a very knowledgeable tour guide - Jon. He told us the background of the house and how it was used by the Kennedys and eventually how it came into the hands of the Park Service. Rose was very involved in the development of the museum and recorded a considerable oral history of the house and their experiences in it.

When I heard the story and thought about what I know about the family I really have to wonder if this was a family that was blessed or cursed. Four children dead before their mother's death and it goes on. Yet they were able to use their great wealth to contribute - think about the Special Olympics - a direct result (according to our guide and the video we saw about Rose's life) of the problems faced by Rosemary Kennedy. But then, of course, her story is an interesting one too!

We then went back to Jay's place to meet his wife Dori as she came home from work. We are very lucky, I think, in the partners all three of our children have picked. They are all bright, educated, intelligent, hard workers and good people.

We visited with Dori and Jay for a while and then went back to the hotel for a little snooze (notice how the adventure and the laziness mix during this holiday!!)

Dinner was at a great little Indian restaurant names Rani right on Beacon Street. Thankfully it was just a few doors down from the hotel as it was pouring cats and dogs. The food was excellent and the company very pleasant.

Sometimes holidays can feel like fantasies - you forget to read the paper, listen to the news or pay attention to your normal interests.

I was reminded of reality today when I read an entry to a blog that one of my former student maintains. She wrote about her mother's diagnosis with breast cancer and the worries for the family over the summer.

Life goes on even though some of us are on holiday. The CIBC Run for the Cure is in October - I encourage you to support this important cause

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