Even if you’re the President, your mother still has the power to embarrass you

Last year, in honor of Mother's Day (the United States version), the John F. Kennedy Library shared a letter sent by President Kennedy to his mother.

Mrs. Kennedy had contacted Premier Khrushchev asking for an autographed photo, copies of which were subsequently forwarded to the White House so that the President could sign them as well. President Kennedy tries to express in the politest language he can muster that the mother of a sitting president directly contacting a foreign dignitary is "subject to interpretations", and that in the future, it would be greatly appreciated if she would let the White House clear any future such contacts.

It so happened that this particular letter-writing incident occurred very close to the Cuban Missile Crisis. I can imagine President Kennedy burying his hand in his face upon realizing that his mother may have inadvertently exacerbated a major international crisis, just by doing what moms do.

Comments (8)
  1. Mordachai says:

    That's hilarious!  I imagine Bloom County's Steve's Mom character doing the writing. :)

  2. dalek9 says:

    I like how his mother told him that when she was going to ask for Castro's autograph she would let him know beforehand.

  3. Andrew says:

    The amazing power of a mother in the 20th Century!

  4. And Rose Kennedy replied "I understand very well your letter, although I had not thought of it before. …When I ask for Castro's autograph, I will let you know in advance!" Now, this is a bit hilarious.

    Anyway, I fail to see what's embarrassing about that. Maybe catastrophic, but embarrassing? No way.

  5. Brian_EE says:

    Beverly Goldberg writing to President Reagan to get Adam out of the Presidential Fitness Test.

  6. GregM says:

    "President Kennedy burying his hand in his face"

    Was this supposed to be "burying his face in his hand"?  The current phrasing, however, has a much more interesting visual.

  7. Pseudo-Anonymous says:


    I think both are acceptable but suggest different meanings. "Burying his face in his hand" suggests that his head tilts downward into his face. However, "burying his hand in his face" suggests that his hand presses into his face.

  8. GregM says:

    "However, "burying his hand in his face" suggests that his hand presses into his face."

    Exactly.  It made me think of him punching himself in the face.

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