The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

November 6, 2013

House where Oswald stayed now open

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Baby bottles sit on the kitchen counter in this small two-bedroom home in the Dallas suburb of Irving, just as they would have on Nov. 22, 1963. Also the same: the rolled-up blanket where Lee Harvey Oswald had stored his rifle among the stacked boxes in the garage.

The home that once belonged to Ruth Paine, the woman who befriended Oswald’s wife and let her live there with her two young daughters, has been restored and will open Wednesday as a museum. It will be the first time the public’s had a look inside and comes as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in downtown Dallas.

“The whole story is now kind of larger than life,” said Kevin Kendro, archives coordinator for the city of Irving, which runs the Ruth Paine House Museum. “It started here in a little house where average stuff was going on.”

The night before Kennedy’s assassination, Oswald made a surprise visit, as he usually saw his family on weekends. When he left the morning of the 22nd, investigators say, he was carrying a brown paper package that held the disassembled rifle.

That day, Marina Oswald and Paine did laundry and cared for their young children like normal while watching coverage of the presidential visit. But a few hours after the assassination, Kendro said, “the police were knocking on their door and their lives were changed forever after that.”

Paine, 81, now lives in California. She visited her old home Monday, and said she was brought to tears by the museum’s re-creation of the washing machine she and Marina once used.

“We spent a lot of time washing,” said Paine, who befriended the Russian-born Marina Oswald in February 1963.

The 1,250-square-foot house allows visitors to step back in time. Toys are scattered in a corner of the living room floor, and in the kitchen, dishes are drying beside the sink.

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