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I have spent the last 50 years regretting that decision.

Sylvia Francescone

Adjunct Faculty, English

My memory of JFK goes back to his campaigning in Haverhill in 1958. I was in the 7th grade and my father, James G DiBurro, who was a Haverhill City Councilor and restaurant owner in Haverhill (DiBurro’s Restaurant located on Essex Street at that time in the heart of the shoe shops) called me at home to see if I wanted him to pick me up to come down to the restaurant to meet Senator Kennedy. My dad said ” I think he will be the first Catholic President of the United States!” In my 12-year-old mind, this meant very little, so I opted not to go. As you can guess, I have spent the last 50 years regretting that decision. Anyway, I have, hanging in a frame, a letter from the then Senator John Kennedy addressed to my mother and father, thanking them for “being with you at the recent Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce” dinner meeting at our restaurant. It is signed John Kennedy, a signature I had authenticated in Boston to make sure it was not signed by a secretary. My father was so proud of that letter. He saw Kennedy’s election, but sadly died at the age of 56 about a year before Kennedy was assassinated. I am also very proud to have this letter.