President Bill Clinton's remarks about at the dedication of the place he calls home, where he lived much of his first ten years with his widowed mother and maternal grandparents, the Cassidy's house. March 1999
"...I would like to say a few things that I worked on last night and this morning. A poet once wrote, "The accent of one's birthplace lingers in the mind and in the heart, as it does in one's speech." Well, so many accents of Hope linger in my mind and my heart.
"We're not far from the site of the old sawmill where my grandfather sometimes worked as a night watchman and where, as a little boy, I used to go and spend the night with him, climbing the sawdust pile and sleep in the back seat of his car. We're just minutes -- I just drove by it -- from the place on which his little grocery store stood, where I used to look up at the countertop and wish I could reach the jar of Jackson's cookies.
"I still remember that my grandfather was the first person who taught me by his example to treat all people, without regard to their race, the same. And also, without regard to their income, because he gave food to people without regard to whether they had a dime in their pockets.
"We're not far from Miss Mary Purkins' kindergarten where I went with my friends Mack McLarty, Joe Purvis, Vince Foster, George Wright, and maybe some more people who are here today, and where I broke my leg in the first of many major mistakes I was to make in my life, jumping rope in my cowboy boots.
"And we're not far from Rose Hill Cemetery, where my beloved mother, my grandparents, and my father, whom I knew only in my dreams and my mother's memory, lie now in eternal rest.
"In this house, I learned to walk and talk; I learned to pray; I learned to read; I learned to count from the playing cards my grandparents tacked up on the kitchen windows which are directly behind us now.
"...This place ... still holds very, very vivid memories for me, and I just relived a lot of them walking through the house. I remember we watched the house burn right across the street there, where the trucks are. I remember throwing a pocketknife into the ground in that backyard I shared with my friend Vince Foster. I remember hurrying down the stairs on Christmas morning and dragging my little toys across the living room floor; waiting outside on that sidewalk for my grandmother to walk home from work.”
Young Billy spent much of his first ten years with his Cassidy grandparents on Hervey St. Even after Bill moved with his mother and stepfather to Hot Springs he continued to spend summers, weekends and holiday with his grandparents. Since childhood President Clinton has maintained a close connection with friends and family: the Cassidy and Grisham families of Hope; the Blythe family, his father's siblings and cousins in Sherman, Texas; his step-father's family, the Clintons in Hot Springs. Some of his childhood friends have been advisors throughout his life.
NOTE: Transitions in Progress 2010-2011
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. gifted President Bill Clinton's 1st Home to the National Parks Service in January 2011, a gift to the nation and the world. Location: 117. S. Hervey St., Hope, AR. Home is open daily for interpretive tours 8:30-4:30. Free.
Interim website: www.nps.gov/history
Telephones: 870-777-4455; 870-722-8508.
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. and The Clinton Museums Association of Friends continue to preserve Clinton's 2nd Home at 321 E. 13th St. (passive exhibits through porch windows) and to work with the National Parks to benefit Clinton's 1st Home.
P.O.Box 1925 Hope, Arkansas 71802 | Telephone 870-722-6929
On-line store is pending.
(C) 2009, 2010, 2011 Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Clinton Museum Association of Friends, Clinton Childhood Home Museums