On Monday night I finished Dawn Tripp’s wonderful novel, Game of Secrets, and wasn’t ready to start a new book or go to sleep. Mindless TV seemed the solution, and I found The Kennedys (some sort of mini-series) on Netflix. I watched a few episodes–through the courtship, the inauguration, and the Bay of Pigs invasion.


Thursday morning I was sitting at a cafe reading, and having coffee and a muffin, when a man, as he walked by, asked me if my book (Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things) was good. I said it was. Then he came back to chat. At one point he said he hadn’t finished college the first time around. “Well, that was the sixties,” he said. “I was too busy trying to stop a war.”


Now Friday afternoon, I’m reading another book, Thomas Merton’s 1965 Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (recommended by someone who left a comment here), and I came across this passage: “January 22, 1961: President Kennedy’s inauguration speech has just been read in the refectory.”