Friday, September 11, 2009


September 11, 2009

If you want to know what the Kennedy family was doing while you were at work today I suggest you take one of those tours of Hammersmith farm. Walk the farm's sleepy green lawns that slope down to the sea. Sit on the back porch which overlooks a panoramic view of the ocean and where president Kennedy used to land his helicopter. See those cute bedrooms with the watercolors where the Kennedy children played and slept. Walk the gardens and the groves of Hammersmith farm and tune in to the quiet privacy of Narragansett Bay and you will realize why the Kennedy lifestyle was nicknamed Camelot. Let the moment take you out beyond the madding crowd where the Kennedys vacationed and you'll understand how distant they were from any appreciation of what was happening in the working class. They may have read Dickens from the comfort of their back porch with the family cat cooing in their laps but they were never out there in the smoke and fire of everyday travail. They got their knowledge of working class ideals second hand through the wrong end of the binoculars. But don't take my word for it. Take a walk through Hammersmith, through Camelot, and you'll see what I mean. You won't see any working class values rearing their ugly heads in that environment. Hammersmith is about forgetting your troubles. It's about ruing the thought of returning to the depressing sobriety of middle earth.

(I originally wrote this piece in my journal back in March of 2004. The characters that once inhabited Hammersmith Farm have left the stage to history. The residence has been sold several times and all the furnishings from the Kennedy era auctioned off. I believe it's currently a private home which no longer admits tours.)


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