A Third Grader’s Letter From The White House

In the new movie Jackie, Natalie Portman gives an amazing performance as Jackie Kennedy, maybe America’s most iconic First Lady, during the weekend in November, 1963 when her husband was assassinated.

A big part of the movie are flashbacks to Jackie’s triumphant moment when she brought America into the White House for personally  guided tour of her refurbishing efforts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Director Pablo Larrain somehow recreates the tour, which was shown as a prime time network special in such a convincing way you feel like you’re actually watching the original broadcast.

As a third grader, my class was assigned to watch the special and then write a thank you letter to Mrs. Kennedy telling how much we appreciated the tour.

I have no idea what I wrote. I don’t think I commented on The Eisenhower Gold China. What I said, might have been cute. I was nine years old. My letter writing experience up to that point was to my mom from summer camp telling her I lost my swim suit.  But whatever, I was only one of two kids in the class who received a response from The White House.

This is the card and the envelope addressed to me. It might be the first time I was ever addressed as Mr. Martin Lennartz. I also like the period detail of the 4 cent stamp and the Postal Zone 13.

The card sent to me by the Kennedy's (Photo Marty Lennartz)

The card sent to me by the Kennedy’s (Photo Marty Lennartz)

But I’ll always cherish the message that read, “The President and Mrs. Kennedy send their very best wishes.”

That’s as cool today as it was when I was nine.


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