Back-Porch Harry

All Harry Truman wanted was a back porch—a cool place where he could sit of an evening, as he used to back in Independence, listening to the whir of the sprinkler on the lawn and the sound of neighbors' voices coming clear through the summer air. He consulted an architect; together, they found just the place for it. It would be inconspicuously tucked away behind the pillars of the White House's south portico, at the second-floor level. The plans were drawn, the money ($15,000) set aside from White House maintenance funds. Then the storm broke.

The Commission of Fine Arts loudly...

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