Life Here

April 19, 2022 By Tom DiGiorgio

Meeting a Famous Person

It was 1960. I had just purchased a new car; a red 1960 Nash Rambler station wagon. I was washing the car outside of my house in Southwest Philadelphia. While cleaning the inside, I tuned the radio to a local news station. The newscaster was talking about a popular congressman visiting the city.

The reason for his visit was to campaign for his upcoming election to become the next President of the United States. His name was John F. Kennedy.

When the announcer said Mr. Kennedy would be stopping at a nearby shopping center to make a speech, I decided to stop the car wash and drive on over to the shopping center as it was less than ten minutes away. Finding a parking spot close by, I locked the car and walked towards the crowd of people who had gathered in the parking lot. The crowd wasn’t too large, and I was able to maneuver myself to the front line of people.

The congressman was talking and gesturing about why he was running for president. He finished about the same time that I reached the front line. As he walked by the front line, he shook the hands of all of us who were standing up front. When he shook my hand, I was too surprised to say anything. He looked into my eyes, but I can’t remember what he said to me. I think it was something like, “How are you, young man?” and then he was gone. The crowd quickly dispersed, and I just stood there and watched his entourage of autos drive off without further fanfare. Later, as I drove back to my house, I thought to myself, is that what it takes to run for the highest office of our country? It must be a very tiresome day to stop at several neighborhoods in every big city to gather as many votes as possible to win a national election.

Two months later, in a very close election, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon, the current Vice President under “Ike” Eisenhower. Mr. Kennedy, now mostly referred to as “JFK,” would be remembered as one of the most popular presidents who ever led our country. Unfortunately, two years after he took office, he was assassinated by a deranged loner named Lee Harvey Oswald.


Read more resident stories from Paradise Valley Estates at our blog here.

Image credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum


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