grandmother tells the story of when she met John F. Kennedy.
was back in 1959, as Kennedy was still gearing up for his
presidential run. Grandma and my grandfather, an active Teamsters
Union member and a Democratic precinct committeeman in Kankakee,
traveled to Chicago for a labor event featuring JFK.
the story goes, was working the room, and when he made it over to my
grandparents he put his arm around my grandmother, kissed her on the
cheek, and told my grandfather that he had a "beautiful wife."
swooned, of course, and decades later when I asked her how she
reacted, she joked that she didn't wash that kissed spot on her
face for two weeks. To this day, you can't say a bad word about JFK
in front of Grandma for fear of risking the evil eye.