Were you old enough...

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shireling
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Were you old enough...

Postby shireling » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:34 pm

to remember President Kennedy?

I was six when he took office, and I don't remember that at all. But, in the years since then, I remember him from press conferences and news reports. He was very witty, and my parents loved him dearly - I can remember them laughing at some of his comments.

There's even one episode from "I Love Lucy", where Lucy and Ethel took a troop of Boy Scouts on a visit to the White House, and Lucy got her bottom stuck in a rocking chair. I can still see her trying to walk with the thing attached to her bum, as the President said something that I remember as - "That's quite alright, Mrs. Richardo. You're not the only one stuck to a rocking chair."

The day of the assassination was a Friday. I remember because I was in the fourth grade, and all of us would place our chairs atop our desks, in order for the janitor to mop the floors. I can still feel the metal legs of the chair in my hands, because it was right at that moment that Miss Allen came back from the office, and told us that the President had been shot.

All the way home, I had my transistor radio stuck to my ear. My sister and I ran into the house (we never locked our doors in those days), into our parents bedroom, where our mother was napping with our two little brothers. She got up and turned on the TV - Walter was on. It was almost 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and we never saw Walter that early in the day. I can still see our mother, shaking her head, and we heard Walter say that the President had died. Then I remember our dad coming home from work, and all of us running to him at the front door, like Edward IV coming home from a battle that had no clear winner...

Those were dark days; most awful, terrible days. I saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot right before my eyes, sitting on the floor, in front of the TV, over my bowl of Sugar Pops. My mother didn't believe me, at first. We watched the funeral, and I heard Hail to the Chief for the first time. I remember thinking, "Why would they play such a funny-sounding song at such a sad affair?"

I remember Jackie, and the kids; John-John saluting. Jackie, and Bobby, and Teddy walking behind the caisson; the riderless horse, Black Jack, those empty boots turned backwards in his stirrups, and wrestling his handler for his head. We stayed glued until the very end; the last I remember, was the lighting of the eternal flame.

I wish I could remember the first time I laughed after that day, and what brought it about. From that day, every home of every one I knew had two pictures in a place of honor, the Pope and President Kennedy...
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"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus


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TomCotton
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Re: Were you old enough...

Postby TomCotton » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:09 pm

Yes, I am old enough to remember. Duck and Cover drills, CD sirens, Fidel Castro being compared to a barking dog, etc.

One lingering memory is a picture of a family living in abject poverty in a grass shack in a Third World country with a picture of JFK on the wall and a look of hope on their faces. That was soon after JFK took office.

My fourth grade class was very gloom after the assasination. I liked JFK and probably would have voted for him.
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Re: Were you old enough...

Postby Padfoot » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:31 pm

I was born 6 years later, so I can't remember. However, my over the years, of course I learned about it. My mother remembers "as if it were yesterday".
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Halasian
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Re: Were you old enough...

Postby Halasian » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:15 am

I remember the day well. It was a sunny day in Seattle, which was, and is, rare in November. I was in the afternoon Kindergarten class at Skyway Methodist Church. The parents used to take weekly turns driving us to school. On that day, when the last kid was picked up, he told us something happened to the president but he didn't know what. Mike Wood's mom Janine was driving us that day in her brand new blue 1964 Ford Galaxy, and she turned the car radio on the news for about a minute then turned it off. I don't think she knew quite how to process the news especially with 4 kids in the car asking questions. Our teacher didn't know at first, and she left for a bit and came back really somber. A few hours later when I got home, I asked dad & mom if they heard about the President, and though they were in the habit of having the radio on during the day, this day they didn't turn it on. So it was 5 year old me who broke the news to my parents. Dad immediately turned on the radio, and shortly afterward he had to go to work (swing shift). Mom turned on the TV and it was then we saw the news.
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shireling
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Re: Were you old enough...

Postby shireling » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:13 pm

Thanks for this, guys :) .
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"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus


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