The Kennedy Assassination…

November 22nd is the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  I was in Mrs. Boyd’s 4th grade class when our Principal shared the news that day.  I recall distinctly thinking, “What is going to happen, now?”

The day of the week in 1963 was a Friday.  Jackie devoted herself to orchastrating the funernal – she was 33 years old at the time.

My parents wanted me to stay in and watch the funeral.  I did, but was happy to get outside to play when I was permitted.  I remember we were playing outside climbing trees when a friend came outside and said, “Someone has shot Oswald.”

We replied “no, you dumb ass, Oswald shot, Kennedy!”  We were profane in the 4th grade.  Little did we know, how crazy things were.  I think the killing of Oswald, did much to promote the conspiracy theories advanced afterward.

Deaths of parents can be profound (I have not had one yet), but the death of JFK was the death of the future and hope.  It still saddens me greatly.  I hope our country never goes through anything like it again.

I recently finished the biography An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917 -1963 by Robert Dallek.  I would highly recommend it to those who haven’t read it.

Hey, you bloggers, have memories, thoughts, conspiracy theories, hopes, on this subject?



Filed under Book Reviews, Democratic Party

9 responses to “The Kennedy Assassination…

  1. Things are different now in addressing women. Teachers were either a Mrs. or a Miss, none of the ambiguity of Ms. in those days.

    Won’t render a judgement about about the quality of differences… though…

  2. There are memories that are called “flash-bulb memories” that people have when a major event occurs. One for me was learning of the Kennedy assassination. The other main one was the 9/11 attacks.

    Usually those memories are pretty clear. I am not aware of research that supports that, but I have a subjective sense of what they’re talking about here.

    However, memory is a “re-constructed” event most of the time and I am not sure that major events escape that qualification…

    I would like to hear about your memories of those to momentous events.

  3. PrairiePond

    Heh, Iggy. I was in the second grade in our one room country school. No phones, etc. A lady who lived nearest the school, about a mile, I think, came over and told us the president had been shot.

    Steve, one of the older kids, said “with a gun” and we all looked at him… then Chris, an older girls hooted “no, with a bow and arrow, dummny!” and we all just howled. We didnt realize then the horror of what had happened.

    I remember being terrified something would happen to my Dad. Identifying with the Kennedy kids, I guess. I remember not being able to watch anything on TV but the funeral coverage. We only got one and a half channels, so we had little choice.

    I just remember my fear intensifying the longer the coverage played. I was glad when it was all over. But I had night terrors for years. Nothing Mom and Dad could do to comfort or reassure me.

    I cant help but think, for better or worse, that our nation would be very different if that terrible assassination had not occurred. Ditto with MLK and RFK.

  4. No doubt the country would have been different. JFK was so burned out on the money pit that Viet Nam had become in a short time, with no hope of it being anything else. He surely would have kept us out of sinking deeper into that mess.

  5. Good to hear from you Pond. Think of you often and hope you are doing okay in this colder time of the year.

  6. I was in the Eighth grade, Wellington Junior High. In those days, there was no school lunch program, and we all went home or somewhere else (diner, etc.) for lunch. The school day resumed at 1:00 p.m., for me the math class taught by a Mrs. Garber (a strict disciplinarian, and a not-so-good teacher).

    As we all were gathering outside the school awaiting admission to the building, which was “closed” during the lunch hour, some of our friends who had gone home came back, talking about reports that the President had been shot. Being trusting types, we assumed that if that was true, someone in a position of authority would tell us; thoughts of Thanksgiving break occupied our minds, and little attention was paid to those reports.

    Trudging into math class, I noticed that there was a number of my classmates who were not there when the “bell rang”. As they had been there for class before lunch, this caused a murmur to pass among those of us present, a disruption not tolerated by the teacher. She started roll call, obviously annoyed that there were so few there.

    About five minutes later, the door opened, and in came the majority of our missing colleagues. Never being one to listen to any verbal communications from students not in direct response to questions she had asked, Mrs. Garber cut off any explanation dealing with the reason they were late, namely the shooting of the President and began writing out detention slips with a look of smug satisfaction on her face (did I mention that I really disliked her?).

    Getting writer’s cramp, she paused a moment, breaking into a lecture about being truthful, and not trying to avoid detention by concocting some wild story, obviously untruthful, about the President being shot, then getting together with the others to ensure everyone told the same story. She then finished her task, with poorly disguised glee, handed out the detention slips to the dozen or so alleged miscreants, threatening the rest of us with detention (we had began discussing the news, as some of our classmates’ credibility was above reproach) if we didn’t quiet down, then launched into the lesson.

    As I recall, about 1:30 p.m., the ancient and barely functional intercom system crackled into life, and the Principal announced that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas; that school was to be dismissed at 1:45, and we would start Thanksgiving break at that time, school for the next day having been canceled. Mrs. Garber started to argue, and was told to comply (actually, she was told to meet with the Principal, who also was Superintendent of Schools, immediately). The dear lady (sarcasm) left the room, returning five minutes later looking quite shaken, and we were allowed to talk quietly among ourselves until the dismissal bell rang.

    There being nothing else on TV, and the weather being not-so-good, I like almost everyone else, watched the events unfold; Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby, the funeral, etc. Going back to school the next Monday was a relief.

    BTW, as far as I know, some 46 years later, the detentions issued remain outstanding and unserved; our dear teacher did not revoke them.

  7. lilacluvr

    I was in the 5th grade and Mr. Wall was the teacher. He was the only male teacher in my grade school (5th grad was still a part of K-6 during my childhood).

    I remember sitting by a boy named David Schum. His family were big Republicans in my county. When Mr. Wall broke the news to us, the majority of us sat quietly trying to soak in the horror. Some girls were crying and some boys were trying to hold back the tears (boys were not allowed to cry back then). But this David Schum loudly proclaimed – “Good, one less Democrat”.

    I never liked that boy or his family from that day forward. Even to this day, when I think of ignorant and arrogant Republicans, who do you think pops into my memory bank?

    Yeah – that’s right – David Schum.

    And then my mother wondered why I would never date the little arrogant bastard.

  8. I was born in June of 1963, so I can’t tell you a memory of the day. But John F. Kennedy was the only President that we ever had a framed picture of on our wall at home. And I remember that my mom and dad both read “Profiles in Courage,” (and eventually I did as well) and that book was displayed prominently on the shelf at our house.

    I was just thinking the other day how incredibly ironic it is that JFK had to make such a big deal out of the fact that he would not allow his Catholic faith (or the Catholic church) to interfere with any decisions he would make as President. And now we have all these evangelicals running litmus tests for candidates, lobbying and infiltrating government. I guess we don’t want the Catholic church running our government, but it would improve our nation if other religious organizations ran it.

    Gotta love the irony.

    • lilacluvr

      Another irony is the fact that John F Kennedy’s book was an inspirational book and Sarah Palin’s book is a get-revenge list and yet her supporters and Rush are claiming it to be a substantive policy book.

      I guess our standards for inspiration has also been dumbed down??