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With A Light Brush

December 2023
1min read

On my ninth birthday I saw Tom Mix “plain.” He wasn’t riding his famous horse, Tony. He was driving a slinky Locomobile, and he waved his white sombrero at me. In 1929 I almost met Herbert Hoover. The senator from Illinois said to my uncle as we stood in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, “Charlie, if you’d told me your nephew was coming to Washington, he could have shaken hands with the President.” In 1938, at the end of the final examination of English 7 (I was a teaching assistant at Harvard College), John F. Kennedy rather loftily, I thought, slapped his blue book on my desk and passed into the future. (I marked his paper B —a respectable grade in those days.) In the early 1950s, carrying a letter of introduction from his niece, I called on Palmiro Togliatti at the headquarters of the Communist party in Rome. A surly, unshaven doorman told me that Comrade T had just taken off for Egypt. I spent election evening, 1948, with Norman Thomas in Easthampton, Massachusetts. (He said he was glad Dewey had lost.) I had my picture taken with Adlai Stevenson right in front of my house. Once I played horseshoes with Admiral Nimitz. And so it goes.

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