Book Club meets today. We have read “Killing Kennedy” by O’Reilly for this month’s discussion. I was quite young when the Bay of Pigs incident happened, a disaster for the new President, and then the subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis which showed Kennedy’s growing maturity as a leader.
I asked my mother if my father, an FBI Special Agent, ever talked about the Cuban Missile Crisis. The country was aware of the danger. People were building bomb shelters in their back yards, schools taught duck and cover to little children. She said no, he never talked of it at all. Then I asked if she ever wanted to know about it, and her response really got to me, “No, I didn’t want to know.”
Wow. Wanting to be ignorant of what was going on. That blew me away. After reading the account about Kennedy, I finally understood why my father didn’t care for the President. It was the man’s philandering. I get that, however, I also get the prejudice of opinion that came down the ranks from Hoover to his agents. Hoover hated the Kennedys. I was surprised that a man with skeletons in his own closet (like all the rest of us) held such intolerance for another. He certainly passed it down the ranks. I have seen that in modern day politics too, though.
It seems to take quite a bit of time for history to sort out the rancor from the actual events. There are always lessons to be learned, but often the emotions of the moment keep those in the moment from learning them. My father valued loyalty, and that was that. My mother’s attitude, however, is something I don’t understand. I get that she took my father’s opinion as her own, that’s not unusual, it’s the not wanting to have any knowledge of what was going on that is surprising. She is so opinionated now at age 96, and with the same lack of information and no filters. Look out! That’s my mom.