My parents were staunch Democrats: My mother worked for the United Auto Workers and my father worked in a union shop. Growing up, it was ingrained in me that the Democrats supported the working class, which certainly described my family. Consequently, when I was 12 years old in 1960, I joined the Young Democrats Club of Owosso, Michigan.
Once the club learned the Democratic presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, would be traveling by train to Owosso for one of his whistle-stop campaign speeches, our club went into high gear in preparation. We donned old-fashioned straw boater hats with patriotic red, white and blue hatbands and called ourselves “Kennedy Girls” or “Kennedy Boys.” We were given all kinds of campaign literature to pass out to the crowd awaiting the future president’s arrival.
What a thrill it was when the train pulled into the station and the great man himself appeared! Even though more than 50 years have passed since that day, I’ll never forget how exciting the moment was. I was so very proud to be a small part of President Kennedy’s winning campaign.
Vivian Wahl • South Boardman, MI
Photo Credit: Abbie Rowe, National Park Service, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.