The First Election I Remember

It is January 1953, I am almost ten years old and we have a black and white television in the living room. It is still a novelty to have this little box with the flickering picture. Most nights we find some excuse to watch a program but we are strictly limited on how long we can watch because my Mom is strong in her belief that television is not good for us.

This memory may or may not be entirely correct but I do remember watching President Eisenhower being inaugurated on television. There was a parade through Washington to the Capitol or White house where he took the oath of office. What stands out for me of this occasion is that I think my mother let us stay home from school to watch this event. She like so many others of that era, was pro-Eisenhower based on his leadership as an Army General. What I remember was his bald head and his big smile. I also remember Mamie, her shirtwaist dress and perky little hat, and at least in my recollection, white gloves demarked her as a real lady.

I had no idea of what the state of the world was or what pressures a president faced, I was just happy to be at home in the middle of the day and eating lunch in front of the TV, a big treat and a day that stands out in my mind as my first presidential memory.

Irene Murray

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