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One More Mystery

On February 9th, 2010, I received the following email from "Northeast Elizabeth":

On your site's "Education" page, you post a photograph identified as "Barry, 3rd Grade, 1969" which is identical to this one appearing in the Honolulu Star Bulletin in December, 2009 (in an article revealing that Obama spent at least part of third grade in Hawaii and not solely Jakarta as widely reported).  Did you add it to your site after that date, or was it there before?  I ask because in the article, Obama's former classmate Scott Inoue indicates that he didn't receive the photo back from Obama until November 2009, and I had assumed that Star's publication of the picture the next month would have been the first appearance of it.  However, the page on your site on which it appears indicates copyright, Beckwith, 2008" at the bottom so I wasn't sure if it was from back then (and if so, how you would have it if it were a private picture of Inoue's, unless Inoue got it elsewhere and was playing a trick).


Scott and Barry 3rd grade 1969
Unfortunately, I have no memory of when I added that photo.  However, I checked the properties on that image and it was created on Sunday, October 18, 2009 -- so it was clearly before.  So, I had it before it was returned to Inoue in November, 2009.

However, it's clear I acquired the photo without the back story, prompting me to archive the photo as an Indonesian-Besuki-period artifact

Somehow, I missed the Star Bulletin report.  This was the first I'd heard of Obama being in the 3rd grade -- and in Hawaii?  He was supposed to be in Indonesia -- the report contradicts Obama's own autobiography, as well as multiple biographies, that say he attended grades 1 through 5 in Jakarta, Indonesia.  From the report:

A former Manoa resident sent President Barack Obama an old photo of the two of them taken while they were third-grade classmates at Noelani Elementary School, requesting an autograph more than six months ago.  He recently received the autographed picture back, as well as a personally signed thank-you note.

Widely published biographies say Obama lived in Indonesia from 1967 through 1971, and none mention his third-grade year at Noelani, Inoue acknowledges. But he said Obama attended at least part of his third-grade year at Noelani in 1969, perhaps during a visit back to Hawaii, and moved away.

When Obama decided to run for president, Inoue had his mother dig up the photo and sent an enlarged copy to Obama's senatorial office in Illinois with a request for his autograph.  There was no response.  He tried again after the inauguration, and several months later an envelope from the White House arrived.

He was surprised by the warm note -- typewritten, but personally signed by Obama -- that accompanied the photo.  Dated Nov. 6, 2009, the note said:

"Dear Scott:

"This is just a quick note to thank you for your kind letter.  It is good to hear from you. ... I am pleased to enclose your signed photograph.  Thank you again for your thoughtful note, and I wish you all the best.

"Sincerely, Barack Obama"


That note reads like general-purpose package for White House correspondents that comes out of Obama's 14-million member database -- a boilerplate note, and a photo of Obama.

There's a second report on that contains an image of the letter, and this cryptic comment -- "His family moved to Indonesia sometime during the school year" -- his biography, and all those autobiographies disagree -- the Soetoros moved two years previously -- Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half-sister places Obama and family in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1967 through 1971.

And, this is not a personal note -- look at it -- it's your basic graphics-printer produced (Obots are skilled at that) "thank you" note -- there is no personal comment or allusion to the 3rd grade photo, so I don't read that response from "Sincerely, Barack Obama" as an acknowledgement, by Obama, that he attended 3rd grade at Noelani in 1969 -- it's like all the other questions -- ignored!

I also assume his 3rd grade records have been lost like his kindergarten records?  Now I'll have to update my list of lost and missing Obama records, and send an email to Hawaii Department of Education to see if they have records of this.

This is bizarre -- I did a Google "Books" search of "Dreams...," and there is no mention of Noelani.

I'm tellin' you -- nobody knows anything about this guy -- every day it's a new mystery.  I've said it before, the more I learn about this guy, the less I know about him.
Visual Confirmation
Fred Nerks found this visual confirmation of Inoue's story:
Scott Inoue proudly displays the signed photograph -- Obama's signature can clearly be seen in the upper right corner.

Copyright  Beckwith  2010
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