Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Four Days In November

bf1NOVEMBER 22nd. To most people under the age of 60 this is just another day on the calendar. Another day lost in the buildup to Thanksgiving. To those of us over 60 this date is, and always will be November 22, 1963, a Friday – the day the President was killed.

I was a senior in high school.

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On that day I had just finished lunch and was heading off to Spanish class in the building across the street. It was about 1:30 PM. Pausing to cross at the corner, a car was waiting at the stop sign. The driver rolled down his window and shouted out to us, “Somebody just shot the President!” Then he drove off leaving us there wondering what was going on. When I got to my classroom the teacher was crying and told us all to return to our Home Rooms. It was there that we learned more.

The school had the radio playing over the PA system. The details were sketchy. The President was in Dallas and someone had shot at him from a window in a nearby building. Was he alive or dead? He had been rushed to a hospital. That was it. Over and over. We sat at our desks and listened in silence.

The minutes dragged on until the announcement was made that the President was dead.

We were all sent home.

The next few days were fused together into one long unbelievable bad dream.

When I got home my mother was crying, my father was not. Some years later he told me that when he first heard about the shooting he left work and went to a bar where he had a shot of whiskey for the first time in twenty years. It was not done in sorrow, but in celebration. That’s all I will say about that.

bf4Our television was tuned to CBS and Walter Cronkite. Speculation, rumors, and facts tumbled out from Dallas. It was at first thought that the Vice President had also been shot. That turned out to be untrue, but the Governor of Texas was wounded by the assassin’s bullets. There was speculation about whether there was more than one shooter. That has never been truly laid to rest and probably never will be.

An arrest was made in the darkness of a movie theater.

Dozens of books have been written about those four days. All I can say is what I saw and what I heard in our living room.bf5

I saw a casket and a woman in a bloodstained suit.

I saw a skinny man and a rifle bustled through the hallways of a Dallas Police Station.

bf7On Sunday I saw that same skinny man murdered on live television.

I saw long lines of people walking past a flag draped coffin. A woman in black silently knelt and kissed it.

I saw a parade through the streets of Washington and across the bridge to Arlington. There was a riderless horse.

November 22, 1963. A Friday when the decade of the 1950s ended with a gunshot, and the 1960s began with a small child stepping forward to salute as his dead father passed by.

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4 thoughts on “Four Days In November

  1. I was in a second floor Insurance office in the Sparta, Illinois, Farm Bureau, in my office listening to the radio when Mr. Kronkite came on and announced it. I ran downstairs and told people. They ran upstairs to my office and listened to Kronkites’ announcements as they came in. We had no TV in the building, so I rushed home and watched it unfold. It was a shock to us all. Actually, it is still shocking.

    Thanks, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well told, sir. Very well told.

    Like

  3. I remember it like it was yesterday. Yes, sent home from school to be glued to TV for days. Makes me miss Walter Cronkite and those days of reporting the news.

    Liked by 1 person

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