I had never focused my attention on the JFK assassination until recently. It’s been fifty years since the murder in Dallas and the conspiracy stories are alive and well. Tragedy and fear drive some people to make wildly wrong accusations and conclusions, some amusingly include aliens. and some point fingers at shadowy figures in the mob, the CIA, the Russians, the Cubans, the Communists or the Anti-Communists to name the most popular ones. No one is safe, not even Elvis. One can spend days lost in conspiracy.
However quirky and ironic, these intriguing tales are not the reasons my interest changed. A few months ago, while organizing some of my dad’s papers my mom asked me to keep an eye out for a letter from J. Edgar Hoover. Clearly there was still so much that I did not know about my father and his associations. In the early days he worked for the post office, and in his off time he painted, read and wrote a lot of letters. I think he had his doubts about the government’s rush to declare that Oswald was the lone gunman. After all it was less than a month after the shooting, and it was before the Warren Commission had a chance to even review all the findings.
When I finally came across the letter what was startling was that Hoover responded personally, and, noting the date, very quickly and quite defensively. Maybe in an attempt to control a wildfire? Whatever my dad said to him it seems clear that to Mr. Hoover, it struck a nerve. Does this now make me part of the conspiracy hordes? I don’t know but it seems odd to me that the Director of the FBI seemed to care so much what an average American thought, especially a young mail carrier in a tiny hamlet on the north shore.