Every young boy and girl in America couldn't help but notice and admire the President's glamorous first lady,  Jacqueline.  I was very disappointed she was not visiting Tampa along with her husband.  At that time, so many teens around my age looked up to the President as a father figurewe all watched the news and read the newspapers just to see what he had been doing.

I had to practically beg my mother to take us to MacDill Air Force Base because she wasnt all that excited about our project.  She finally gave in, thoughI was unrelenting. 

We got to MacDill about 5a.m. and talked our way through the Dale Mabry gate.  That early in the morning the guards were tired, not so vigilant, and I guess they figured we couldnt be much of a security risk at our ages.

Our car was directed to a large hangar on the east side of the runway, not far from where the Presidents plane, Air Force One, would land.  The area had been designated for use by members of the press.  My mother dropped us off and returned home to her comfy bed.  Some airman saw us and let us into the hangar and told us to sit down and we did, for what seemed to be days.  After all, it wasn't even dawn and the Presidents plane wasnt going to land for over six more hours.

For a teenager, sitting still in a chair for that long seemed like a prison sentence  It was not something I was accustomed to doing, but the single thought of meeting President Kennedy made it more than worth while.

After an eternity of waiting, an Air Force officer entered the area and questioned us about what we were doing there.  After explaining we were bona fide representatives of the Buchanan Junior High School newspaper (complete with I.D.!), he hinted that our best shot at getting close to JFK would be at the MacDill Officers Club some distance away.  By that time, the Presidents arrival was getting close so we made a bee line for our best vantage point.

We had chosen MacDill Air Base because we wanted to be there for the arrival of the President but you needed press credentials to get close enough to see detail.  But we were able to catch Air Force One landing and the president walking off the plane from quite a distance as we were making our way to the Officers Club.

JFK was taken by limousine to the Officer's Club, and by the time we finally arrived, he had already gone into the building for lunch and a meeting with ranking military people at the MacDill command.  My heart raced as and Clem and I waited for the second when he would emerge and we would finally get a chance to meet our hero and leader.

I came fully prepared to record the Chief Executives every movement with my Kodak Brownie with the old 620 film and a built-in flash (which wasnt necessary that day) and my Bell and Howell 8mm movie camera loaded with a full roll of film, two-and-a-half minutes worth.  The still camera stayed around my neck and I carried a case-type bag around my shoulder with the movie camera inside.

It was necessary to juggle the cameras back and forth, which was easy because I could take a still picture and drop the camerathen grab the movie camera.  Exactly how I pulled it all off escapes me to this day but I do know I was more concerned about being able to shake Kennedys hand than about getting stills or movies.