Kennedy photo sparks recollection

Jack Hart ’60 saw the photo on page 23 of the December 2012 issue of Whitman Magazine showing Nancy Simon ’63 with then-U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, and he sent an email with his recollection about the Kennedys’ 1960 campaign visit to Milton-Freewater, Ore.

U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy

On Mrs. Kennedy’s right are Jeff Horton ’61 and Dave Scott ’60. Standing beside the then-Sen. Kennedy is Morrie Shore ’60. The occasion was the Kennedy campaign for the Oregon primary, one of a string of primary victories that helped Jack Kennedy wrest the nomination from Hubert Humphrey, senator from Minnesota. So this Oregon primary was one that would make a difference.

The Whitman student wear – suit, sport coat, ties, the women in dresses – looks very formal now and in fact was relatively formal even for the times. The Kennedy stop-over was on a Sunday afternoon in late May, and 1 p.m. was Sunday Dinner at all the house and dormitory dining rooms. We dressed for that. And as students gathered for dinner the word went around that Jack Kennedy would be speaking at the Milton-Freewater Grange at 3 p.m. A large number of Whitman students left for Milton-Freewater directly from dining rooms.

Dave Scott was a Young Republican, Jeff Horton and Morrie Shore were Young Democrats, all poly-sci majors. So easy was bi-partisanship in those days that they collaborated in an umbrella Political Union. No doubt this affiliation accounts for their being photographed with the future president and first lady.

The senator was running late and folks milled around in the hall or hung outside to await the caravan. When the cars finally did arrive, the advance men were in such a hurry to get their candidate before the people that they swept him into the hall. Mrs. Kennedy was left sitting alone in the car. Doug Taylor ’60 went over. “Mrs. Kennedy, may I walk you into the hall?” “Why, thank you, young man,” said Jackie Kennedy in that light breathy voice. She took Doug’s arm and they walked together into the Grange.

It was a quick stop, a receiving line, time for the photo op above, then 20 minutes for a talk and questions. After all these years, the impression remains: Kennedy bright, witty, tough, direct, a fresh young voice against the rhetoric of the Eisenhower era. And then the gracious candidate exit: so pleased to be here, reluctant to move on but schedule-driven. To an English major’s delight, Kennedy took his leave of the voters at Milton-Freewater with lines from Robert Frost,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Jack Hart ’60

Whitman Outing Club was going strong in 1962

We thoroughly enjoyed the article about the Whitman Outdoor Program in the December 2012 Whitman Magazine. It was wonderful to see what the old Whitman Outing Club has turned into! However, we need to correct a date. The Outing Club did not begin in the late 1960s. It was thriving at least as early as the fall of 1962, when we both became active in it. I was the vice president of the club from fall 1963 through spring 1965 (Bruce Stuart ’65 was president). Conrad White (mathematics) was the faculty adviser until he left the college in June 1964; he was succeeded by Jim Todd (chemistry). Outings would be attended by anywhere from five to 30 students. We ran ski trips and mountain climbing trips as well as backpacks and day hikes.

See more photos from the Outing Club in the ’60s

Here are just a few of the photos Bill and Melody James Ashworth ’65 shared with Whitman Magazine. To see all 41 photos, go to:

The attached picture was taken by Conrad White on Nov. 3, 1962, at Wallowa Lake, Ore., and shows members of the club gathered for a group photo before beginning a backpack to Aneroid Lake in the Wallowa Mountains. Melody is at the left end of the front row; I am third from the right in the back row (wearing the white hat). Others include (front row) Gretchen Abbott Bersch ’66, Virginia Hunt and Hedy Dechert Beinert ’66; (back row) faculty member Morton “Woody” Wood (modern languages), Gabriel Aboudye, Linda Hedberg ’66, Ken Colby ’66, Bill Ashworth ’65, Sandy Ney Wood ’65 and Donna Gregg ’65.

Bill and Melody James Ashworth ’65

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