The Harry who was born 118 years ago today is "hometown boy" and 33rd President of the United States -- Harry S. Truman.
Growing up in Kansas City, Harry was often interviewed on the local television channels -- and I remember he always joked about running for his "second" term years in the future. For he was the one who had legislation passed that a President can only be "elected" twice (and since his first term was because of the death of President Roosevelt and his "second" term was really his first elected term . . . )
And although he is The Man from Independence, Independence is really a suburb of Kansas City and his library is there. A fond memory of childhood is a class trip to that library, right after they opened, and being led through the library by a knowledgable docent and then at the end being seated in the auditorium where President Truman came out and addressed the audience. We were lucky little kids that day for he had been asked to address a group of high schoolers but since we were there and there was room in the auditorium . . . . it was a memorable day for me and one that I will always remember.
Harry, too, was a contemporary of my father and before Harry was famous by father knew him. Although it was more of an acquaintance rather than a friendship. And Dad (and mom, too) voted for Harry for President -- for he was the hometown boy!
When he left office, he called himself "Mr. Citizen" and often you would see Bess and Harry at the grocery store -- like normal folks. This was before the assassination of President Kennedy when former Presidents had no secret service protection. Can you imagine today seeing a former President and his wife in a supermarket?
In Independence, was the summer White House -- the home that Bess's family built that was the only home that Harry and Bess ever knew (oh, they had an apartment in Washington when he was a Senator and he lived in the White House and he spent time in Key West -- but their home was in Independence -- the others didn't really count)
It's a Victorian home and a real homey home. It's now a National Historic Site and you can tour the home which is left as it was when Harry lived in the home. Bess made sure of that. It's one of my favorite homes to tour and I simply adore their little library. With walls of books and two comfy chairs!
If you're in Independence, a tour of the Library and the Truman home are a must. If you really want to immerse yourself in Trumania, go to Grandview -- not all that far from Independence and visit the home where Harry grew up. And if you really want to see all things Truman, drive 2 hours south to Lamar and visit his birthplace.
Truman's Birthday has always been remembered by me because for many years I worked for the State of Missouri and to honor their hometown boy who happened to be a President, they designated his birthday as a State Holiday. It was glorious to be out and about on that day (especially when we moved to Kansas) and people would ask "why are you off" -- and I told them because it was Truman's Birthday!
Often I just got stares! But since I was off and since his birthday fell past the day of the last frost, it was also the day that I took out all my houseplants!
I've fond memories of President Truman for many reasons! A Happy Birthday to a great man!