4. Nursery

This bassinet has been used by Kennedy children and grandchildren in the years since Joe Jr. and Jack first slept in it here in the nursery. The books were a favorite pastime. Probably Jacks favorite book was King Arthur and His Knights. I was very careful to select books which were recommended at school or by a childrens bookshop. My children, however, were indifferent to these edifying selections, for one of Jacks book treasures was Billy Whiskers, a story about a goat, which my mother bought in a department store. The illustrations seemed to me to be crude and the colors harsh but the boys adored the stories and delighted in the whole series, pictures and all. The christening dress in the corner was given to me by my mother-in-law who had it made by the Franciscan nuns in East Boston where the family lived. All the children and John Jr., the presidents son, have worn this little dress. The little Irish bonnet, a gift, is profusely covered with shamrocks. The president was baptized at Saint Aidans, the neighborhood church. Mothers were confined for three weeks then, and so the celebration was always a small, informal family gathering. I wanted the children christened as soon as possible so I was never present at the ceremony. There were more toys in here then of course. The president liked steam engines, teddy bears, and the usual boys toys, but especially books of adventure. You couldnt give a sick child a radio or television set then, to keep him occupied, because there were none in 1917. We spent a lot of time reading and entertaining the children here in this room, particularly when Jack had scarlet fever in 1920. The guest room and boudoir are down the hall.