November 22, 1963
As I recall fall had set in. I was in Mrs. Hale’s split 5th and 6th grade class in a portable classroom behind the old Hamilton School (on Southgate Ave. where channel 8’s antenna array now sits). We were busy at our books when someone came to the door of the classroom and asked to speak to the teacher. She stepped outside for a moment and then back inside trying to control her weeping. “President Kennedy has been shot in Texas and they think he might be dead.” In the 6th grade I wasn’t certain what to make of that news. They came through a moment later and dismissed all the classes I walked back home and it was all that was on T.V. I went outside to play, the sky was overcast and dark and a chilly wind was blowing. The neighborhood was deserted; everyone else was glued to the media. I remember thinking “This is a good day for a tragedy”. For three days there was literally nothing else on T.V. The three major networks did “pool” type coverage for 72 hours solid of the events of that day, with the same reporters doing a marathon of reporting and looking increasingly haggard as the hours wore on. The presidential succession worked flawlessly with Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as soon as President Kennedy’s death was confirmed and life went on. In April 4, 1968 we saw Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated. Then on June 5 that same year the brother of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, as it were, live on T.V. and repeated ad nauseam. I’m not quite sure where to go with this except to mark that I was witness to the fact that they happened. I don’t hold much hope that people learned from it for we keep repeating the same mistakes. Sorry, there is nothing more to make than an observation. This time of year has a beauty unique to itself but with it a certain dread for the discomfort of the approaching winter. We can spend this time in maudlin pursuits or look ahead, after winter there has always been spring.