Monthly Archives: December 2013

Nov. 22, 1963 and what I saw

Kennedy plaque

I meant to write this article week’s ago during the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, but time has a way of getting by me.

What I remember most about Nov. 22, 1963 and the days to follow was the chilling wave of grown-ups crying, and that there were no cartoons on my favorites TV stations. Those were significant events that impacted my young life, and now serve as a link to history.

We elementry school kids used to chuckle whenever we saw one of our teachers drinking at the kids’ fountain.  It was just a humorous site worth snickering about. But we had not idea what was coming.

I saw somebody from the school’s main office enter the classroom and whisper to my teacher, Mr. Shea.

Then I saw him weep. I was stunned. My classmates were stunned. We traded glances and knew this was something bad. To see a teacher cry, a grown-up sobbing, could only mean one thing: death.

Mr. Shea announced that our president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed in Dallas. I don’t recall any other details.  And I have no recollection if we were dismissed from school. All I know is that Mr. Shea was crying and we students had no way to comprehend the magnitude of what had happened historically.

We saw more adults crying in the days to come. A lot of silent tears.

There were no cartoons running on TV. Almost every station was covering JFK’s death. I didn’t know it at the time, but live TV was bringing us history as it was happening.  My mom drove the family across town to visit friends a day later. I thought maybe I could watch cartoons on their TV set. As if things would be different in another neighborhood. It wasn’t.

Everything was somber, cold and in black and white. That’s the way I remember that period in my history. The name John F. Kennedy had no imprint on my mind until Nov. 22, 1963.

Years later, my mom purchased a plaque of President Kennedy. That plaque still hangs on her living room wall.