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Bill Clinton’s Birthplace

I was born and raised in Arkansas. I am very aware that I have a southern accent. I’m also aware that I’m a rebel, but not because of the Civil War – I’m glad the Union won – I’m just a maverick kind of girl. I was a child when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. My mom was a public school teacher and principal in Arkansas for her entire career. Governor Clinton accepted an invitation to visit her school one day, along with his entourage. Instead of eating with the teachers at the special table they had decorated in his honor, he ate with the kids and posed for local newspaper photographers! After all, why eat with the voters and tax payers?

I remember when he lost his second run at the governor’s mansion, he got up and tried again. Only the second time, he told his wife (maybe he begged or bargained with her) to please take his last name. She did. He won. The rest is history. I remember when he became President, the city of Hope and the city of Hot Springs got in a battle over who could “claim” the state’s favorite son. He was born in Hope, but only lived there four years. He grew up in Hot Springs. Finally, an agreement was made: Hope would be his “Birthplace” and Hot Springs would be his “Boyhood Home”. I, too, am from Hot Springs. I remember driving into town right after the erected the big, brown sign declaring that the Spa City was the “Boyhood Home of President William Jefferson Clinton”. A few days later, the sign was riddled with bullet holes and paint gun splotches. Pride in our favorite son, I guess? Needless to say, the sign was replaced more than once. In  case I haven’t been clear, I’m not a supporter of Bill Clinton. However, I do have a great deal of respect for the office of the President of the United States. I’m thankful for the peaceful change of power at each inauguration. I’m thankful that God has given us a leader, but I know that God is ultimately in control.

My husband and I have a deep love of history. He’s been to D.C. five times and I’ve been once. Someday, we hope to go together! We have visited four other presidential homes: Eisenhower (Abilene, Kansas); LBJ (Austin, TX & Johnson City, TX); Jefferson’s Monticello (Charlottesville, VA) and Truman (Independence, MO). Today, we added one more! Bill Clinton’s birthplace, Hope, AR.

I was very impressed with how kind the National Park Rangers were to us! They thanked us more than once for “taking the time to come by” – southern hospitality at its best. They were not at all worried or bothered about having children there. In fact, they gave each of the older ones a little booklet to work on, with questions about the home. They gave them a “Junior Ranger” badge, a certificate and “swore them in” as junior rangers. I had forgotten the Bill Clinton was actually born William Jefferson Blythe, III – his father was killed in a car accident three months before his birth. He was later adopted by his stepfather, Roger Clinton. It was interesting to see how humble a future President began his life. It thrills me to know that a guy from Hope – and Hot Springs – Arkansas, could achieve such heights! He was blessed by God with a great mind and he was a very hard worker.

Laci is trying to match the picture on the brochure to the one in front of her in the Visitor’s Center.

After interviewing a Park Ranger, they got sworn in as Junior Rangers! 
They promised to be kind and help others. 

The badge!

Laci and Leslie loved the badges, the older kids did too, but didn’t show it as much. 😉

The living room in the home of Bill Clinton’s grandparents, Virginia Cassidy Clinton Kelley’s parents. They cared for him for the first year of his life, while his newly widowed mother studied to be a nurse anesthetist in New Orleans.

Lauren liked the old radio!

I liked this old phone. 

This is Virginia’s room, where she lived as young girl and where she lived when Bill was born. Her parents wanted her to have the largest room so she could have her friends over after school. 

This picture is of the President in Kindergarten. He is on the far left and beside him is Mack McLarty, in front of him is Vincent Foster. Talk about life-long friends!

Virginia Kelley personally chose the replica items for the home. Here are a few replicas of Bill’s toys.

His grandmother taught him numbers by clipping Rook game cards to the curtains! (Good idea!)
A calender from 1948 – Bill Blythe’s birthday is listed on August 19 – he’s the last name on that date.

The dining room. I just loved the large window to the right! It overlooks the yard, where young “Billy Blythe” used to play.

Is the bedspread adorable or what?!
The view from young Bill’s upstairs window. That bridge is for trains. 

This was just for fun – taken in his grandparents’ bedroom. 🙂 
A letter from Bill to his grandmother, while he was away at college. In it, he says he could never get used to living in a large place like New York City. I guess he got used to it! 🙂 
Laci and Matthew in front of the replica play yard at the Clinton birthplace.

He finally smiled! 

Our tour guide snapped this for us. He was impressed that I was from Hot Springs! (Yep, it’s a small town, folks!)

Matt wouldn’t smile now! 

We were trying to get a family photo, but a train went by right beside us and wow! It was LOUD! Matt covered his ears quickly!

It was a fun day for our family! We have driven past this home hundreds – if not thousands – of times, but never stopped. The admission was free and as you can see, they allowed me to take pictures wherever I wanted! (Most historical sites prohibit this.) Thanks for taking the tour with us, and if you’re ever in Hope, stop by and take the free tour – and look me up!
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