July 24th, 2005

2001 (HAL 9000 eye)

Visit from Mum

This year's US tour takes place a little earlier than usual, and despite my having somehow managed to catch cold in the hottest week of the year, it's been enjoyable so far. Yesterday was spent in the traditional shopping frenzy, followed by a lovely dinner at the Coach Grill; today we went down to Columbia Point and visited the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, which I've never seen despite having lived in these parts for almost sixteen years.

The museum was time well spent. It's in a lovely location, first off; we spent a fair bit of time just looking out over the harbour. Once inside, the exhibits were nicely done and pretty informative (and this month's rotating exhibit was on Kennedy's WWII service and the PT-109 incident, which I was very interested in). There's a lot of source audio and video, so you mostly get to take in the man himself rather than someone else's conclusions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's no real criticism of him at all: no mention of the fact that most people who listened to the Kennedy/Nixon debates thought Nixon had come out better, for instance, no discussion of the disputed Chicago votes on Election Night 1960... and nothing at all about his extramarital activities. I didn't really expect the museum to focus on these issues in any real depth, but I thought they might at least have been briefly addressed.

(One other thing I found odd: there's very very little on the nature and aftermath of JFK's death. I understand that the museum's interest is primarily in his life and achievements, but I was surprised they didn't spend a bit more time on the political and cultural impact of his assassination and on the tributes to him that came in from all corners of the globe.)

We headed home for a breather and then drove down to Wellesley College so I could get the (brief) guided nostalgia tour from my alum Mum. I'd been to the campus with her before, but that was back in 1988, before I was really in much of a position to appreciate college campuses or Wellesley specifically. It was fun to cruise around the place with her: I discovered that I could pretty reliably determine which buildings had been there when she attended (the pretty, gothic ones, by and large) and which had been put up since her time (the ugly, soulless modern ones). We didn't really stop to see any place in much depth, but maybe on a future tour...