Did you know that John F. Kennedy once went water-skiing near the Suisun waterfront?
That’s what I heard.
It was the summer of 1956 and Kennedy, visiting California to promote his book “Profiles in Courage,” had a break after the plane on which he was traveling landed at Travis Air Force Base.
A friend from his time in the Navy during World War II lived in Dixon and had a boat docked in Suisun City, so Kennedy and his friend took advantage of a rare calm day to ride around the Delta. It ended with Kennedy water-skiing near downtown Suisun City.
Or it might have. Could have. I heard about it from a guy I know who has a friend whose grandfather worked with a guy who knew someone who said he thought he saw Kennedy water-skiing.
It’s an urban legend, but that’s the beauty of urban legends. They’re interesting, difficult to prove, yet difficult to disprove. Because they usually have a grain of truth.
We know, for instance, that Kennedy wrote the book. And that he promoted it. And that Travis existed in the 1950s.
So why not embrace it? This could be huge!
As part of my continuing effort to promote our region, I am using my column as a megaphone for urban legends that (could have) happened here. Feel free to tell people they’re true, and if they search the Internet (Googling, for instance “John F. Kennedy water-skiing Suisun City”), they’ll find my column! We all win.
In the interest of ramping it up, here are three other urban legends for our region that I may have made up:
“Hotel California” is based on Vacaville’s Motel 6. When the Eagles released their iconic song in 1977, speculation began about its origin. Was it about Satanism? The California lifestyle? Something else? Turns out, according to a guy who called me one day and said he’d heard it from a neighbor’s father-in-law, the song is based on songwriter Don Felder’s experience in 1974, when he played at the old Onion Festival in Vacaville. After he checked out of the Motel 6 that Sunday, his Chevy van had a flat tire. The clerk said, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave,” and a song was born. I think.
Jimmy Hoffa is buried beneath the Solano Community College football field. Persistent rumors insist that the former labor leader – who disappeared in 1975 – was buried beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey. But according to a letter that a former friend’s uncle said a drinking buddy told him about seeing, that’s only partially true. This guy says Hoffa was killed in New Jersey, but his body was put in a truck for a cross-country trip to be dumped in the San Francisco Bay. But the truck driver got nervous as the time approached, so he pulled into the Solano College parking lot and dumped Hoffa’s corpse in the area where construction was taking place. He’s under the north end zone. Perhaps.
The Keebler Elves grew up in Rio Vista. A caller told me that she read somewhere that the lovable little pitchmen for Keebler cookies were raised by sheep rancher Ralph Robertson on the outskirts of Rio Vista – earning money in the summer by selling wool at the Solano County Fair. Usually the center of attention because of their small size (they were, even in the 1960s, called “elves,” rather than “little people”), they became noted showmen. They were runners-up for the role of the Pillsbury Doughboy role, but when the Keebler Co. decided to launch an elf campaign, the choice was natural. The Robertson triplets legally changed their last name to Keebler and took turns playing the role of the lovable little cookie-makers. Their contract requires them to never discuss their youth. I heard.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope. Maybe.