From my book, "Resilience - The Life of a Mexican American" :
In fifth grade, we studied politics and the Nixon and Kennedy Presidential Campaign. Mr Somes didn’t tell us his preference of candidate. He let each of us decide who we thought was best based on the issues.
After reviewing the issues, the class was divided about 50 – 50. I decided I liked Senator Kennedy best. He was a man who was for the people.
I wrote Senator Kennedy a letter letting him know what we were doing in class. I also said I would vote for him if I were old enough.
A few weeks later, Mom said an envelope came for me. It was in a brown envelope about eight inches long and six inches wide. I never received mail for me before. Excitedly, I opened up the envelope. It contained a letter from Senator Kennedy thanking me for my letter and a signed, autographed picture of him.
I showed everyone in my family the letter and the picture. I also showed everyone at school my new prized possession.
When I brought the picture home, I proudly hung his picture up on the wall in my bedroom.
At this same time, Dad watched the news every night. He liked Walter Cronkite and told us he was an honest man.
Senator Kennedy came to Lansing that summer for his Presidential Campaign. I begged Gloria to take me downtown to the Capital to see him. Thousands of people had the same idea. We were all on the Capital lawn listening to his speech. We felt like we were watching history when he visited.
My parents said they were voting for Senator Kennedy for President. That fall, we were so excited when Kennedy won. We all knew my father voted for him and we felt we had a personal stake in this election.
Mr. Somes was my teacher in both fifth and sixth grade, so we followed the campaign through to the election. This made the whole event very relevant for all of his students.
In sixth grade, Mr. Somes, always so caring about all his students, made learning fun and our group remained friends throughout the entire schoolyear.