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An American official and the phone to the White House

Norman Hennessy

We were all so fascinated with America. I remember Gus Kennedy had a television in the window of his pub, where I watched the transmission of JFK in Berlin. An American official stayed in our house for President Kennedy’s visit. I remember him sitting in the front room and saying “I don’t do autographs” and he gave me a handful of pens for my older brother. The official stayed in my sister’s bedroom. There was a direct line to the White House put into our house during his stay. I was fascinated by the phone and really wanted to pick up the receiver and dial but I was too scared. My mother was close with Andy Minaham, and my father supported him in business. Andy told my mother to go up to O’Connell St. to get a good view and I think she shook JFK’s hand. I remember going down to the Quays and I remember the crowd and the surging, the laughter, and the clapping. I also shook Ted Kennedy’s hand at a later date.

- in Arrival in Dublin