A Chicago neighborhood has erected a granite boulder with a plaque as a monument to the Obamas’ first kiss. As Obama related: [emphasis added to quotes]
On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.
Didn’t he mean to say “the curb doubling as our dinner table?” But I digress.
Dubbed the “Obama kissing stone“, this particular rock
joins other South Side attractions such as the fortress occupied by Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, and Obama’s old barber chair, now enshrined in glass over on Blackstone Avenue.
Now there’s a neighborhood with some history behind it. This particular fable conflicts with a campaign ad that ran during the 2012 race:
So in that version of the story, their first date was dinner (or lunch) at the Chicago Art Institute, followed by a movie, but with no mention of ice cream.
Because of this discrepancy, in June 2012, we decided to do a little fact checking on this particular “first date” story, because we’re just particular kinds of citizens who suspect everything this particular fabulous man has to say, especially about his personal history. What did we find?
Several competing stories. Alternate story number one:
For their first date, a young law intern named Barack Obama took his future wife to a meeting he was conducting in a church basement for poor, single, mostly African American mothers—an outgrowth of his work as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side. As Michelle Obama recalls, the purpose of this meeting was to help these mothers see that it was “the job of ordinary people in organizing” to narrow the gap between “the world as it is and the world as it should be.”
How romantic!!! Not.
The fable upon which the Obama kissing stone is based, was discussed in 2007 in Oprah’s magazine, in a story about celebrity “firsts”. It’s basically the same story as told at the beginning of this post, about the “chocolate kiss” on the curb. But whatever happened to the church meeting?
But wait! In his second book [p. 330], published in 2006, Obama claimed (or whoever wrote the book for him claimed) that the couple’s first date happened when they went to the law firm picnic and then got chocolate ice cream afterwards, followed by “the kiss”. But whatever happened to the Art Institute and the church meeting? There’s still another variation of the story.
In that version, the couple went to the Art Institute, had lunch, saw a Spike Lee movie, and then had a drink at the John Hancock building. Whatever happened to the chocolate ice cream? Or the church meeting?
Oddly enough, there’s no mention of the Art Institute anywhere in Obama’s second book. However, the Art Institute is mentioned in his first book, but that book says that Obama took his half-sister Auma to the Art Institute, when she came to Chicago, when they first met in 1984 (although we know that’s not true because Obama lived in NYC in 1984, when Auma claimed they first met.)
Back in August 2012, Hillbuzz rather facetiously started a grassroots campaign to have other “historically” important moments in the life of the Windy City’s windiest former resident memorialized. Kevin DuJan explains:
My good friend Megan Fox and I have decided to launch a grassroots campaign for a series of similar “historic markers” that we think should be installed around Chicagoland, commemorating other kisses Barack Obama had with additional people in his life…people such as Larry Sinclair …
DuJan goes on to suggest other locations in Chicago for Obama historical plaques, such as Man’s Country Bathhouse in the Andersonville neighborhood and the East Bank Club in downtown Chicago, both gay hangouts with which Obama was associated during his days in Chi-town.
Other cities could get in on the action. Honolulu should consider putting up a plaque to mark the spot where Obama watched Frank Marshall Davis sell 8-balls of coke from his hot dog stand.
There could be a plaque at the site of the bar that Obama’s grandfather took him to when Barry was just a youngster. The bar is located in the “largely black red-light district on Smith Street, at that time located near Honolulu’s Chinatown.”
The possibilities are endless. How about a plaque at the New York City apartment building where Obama shared a summer of love with white girlfriend Alex McNear?
There could be another plaque at 240 East 13th Street where Obama first met another white girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, at a party.
There could be a plaque at the site where Obama first met unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, if anybody can figure out when and where that happened.
Finally, of course, the most-visited plaque might be at the site of his birth, if anybody can ever figure out where that event actually happened!