NPS John F. Kennedy NHS
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  • 2. Living Room

    Welcome to our home. Mr. Kennedy and I bought and moved into this house when we were married in 1914. Our eldest son was born at Hull, Massachusetts, a summer resort, but our next three children, including the president, were born here, and this house holds many happy memories. Life was so much simpler then. Here we had space and air, for there were no houses across the street or to the right of this one. At first there were few automobiles and the trolley lines were a fifteen minute walk away. I shall try to point out to you some of the things as we go through the house that were important in our lives. Since the living room in the days before radio and television was the place for the family to be together, we shall start here. We spent a lot of time in this room in the evening. Mr. Kennedy was president of a bank and this was his one opportunity to read the newspaper or his favorite detective stories. He would sit in that red chair by the gate-leg table. We all read The Boston Transcript in the evenings in those days. Papers only cost a penny. Usually I would sit in the wing chair there by the table opposite him. I cant see that chair without remembering the holes in the childrens stockings. They wore knickers then and the boys knee stockings always had holes in them. They had to be darned once or twice a week When the children were ready for bed and had said their prayers they would come to the living room and play for a little while before we put them to bed. Usually after the children were tucked in, Mr. Kennedy and I would take a long walk. It was an hour we both enjoyed. I spent a good deal of the time reading to the children from books carefully selected from a list submitted by the school twice a year or from the Womens Industrial Union. I remember that I would make no engagements outside in the evening so that I could be with the children to help them with their school work, to doctor their colds, or to find out what activities they had been interested in during the day. The piano was a wedding gift and at Christmas, with the tree over there by the south window, I would play and we would all sing Christmas carols. The children did not do too well with their piano lessons. Radio was a new thing then and they said that people wouldnt want to listen to them play when they could hear the same songs on the radio. The pictures are copies of famous paintings I had studied in the European galleries. It gave me great pleasure to have these copies in my home and I thought it an inspiration for the children to grow up with them. Now shall we go upstairs to the master bedroom? On the way you may want to take notice of the old-fashioned telephone in the hall.