On This Date

I was seven years old, in second grade and had been sent home from school early. When I entered the house, my mother was watching our small black and white television, something I never saw her do during the day. She was crying. sns-videos-anniversary-of-jfk-assassination-approaches-playlist-1

I was confused. Two years earlier, I saw my parents crying a lot; my baby sister Paula had died in her sleep. I remember how my sister Naomi, then 3, and me, then 5, were brought into our bedroom and the door was closed. Policemen and our pediatrician, Dr. Goldenring, came to the house. What had happened now? My brother David was only seven months old. Had something happened to him?

In time I was told the magnitude of the event though I’m sure I didn’t understand the significance.  I remember watching the funeral procession on television and seeing the First Lady and her very young children, now fatherless.  It was beyond my comprehension. For sure I didn’t know then that it would become the first in a series of indelible dates that would mark my memory from then on: The subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy; the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Sandy Hook, and so many more.

Fifty years after this horrible assassination, guns  are still readily available.

Advertisements

About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
This entry was posted in commentary, Family, History and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to On This Date

  1. Patti Winker says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal memories. How scared you must have been. It hurt my heart to think of the poor little 7 year old you going through such pain and fear, beyond what you later found out was the assassination.

    I was 10 years old and remember the atmosphere of our house and the school when we returned. I remember my parents becoming quiet. I remember being glued to the television, especially during the funeral procession. The ‘riderless horse’ intrigued me, and does to this day, as does the ‘missing man formation.’ I believe the events, images, and atmosphere at that time became a part of who I am.

    Like

  2. joan turk says:

     Lisa, I was in Room 244 in South Orange Jr. High waiting for an 8th grade class to arrive. It was my second year of teaching and the students came in buzzing about the president being shot.  I didn’t believe them at first until the principal made the so sad announcement.  The first reaction of one of the students was fear. When he heard a plane go by overhead, he called out “Are the Russians coming to get us?” It didn’t even enter my radar. I was just numb. I can still see the boy’s face even though he is a man in his sixties today.   Joan    

    Like

  3. I had just turned 6 on Oct 30. I had always identified with Caroline who was born on November 27 1957. My mother had tried to get me into the the first grade but failed. I was unable to lie and say I was born in 1956 instead of 1957. I was sent home at 2 weeks after school started.The Head Start Program would not start until around 1965. I was home with my Big Mama watching Soap operas in between reading the books she had lined up for me. She was the baby sitter for her grand kids. The Soap was interrupted by the news cast. I just remember the sadness. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I need not repeat all the events that were unfolding.
    Thanks Lisa.

    Like

  4. Colline says:

    I did not experience this event but have so many others: the death of Lady Di, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the fall of the twin towers.

    Like

  5. It’s amazing to me how many people loved him around the world! I was born in ’63 – the year he was assinated – I grew up knowing that and sensing that this was an event of importance.

    Like

  6. OmaOrBubby says:

    Love the way you describe your memories so vividly. I could just picture the whole thing. Thanks for sharing. It’s so interesting the imprint on everyone’s lives that remains from this event.

    Like

  7. Some events stay in our minds for ever. It was a very sad day for the whole world.

    Like

  8. hugmamma says:

    Just my opinion…guns should never have been invented. History has shown it’s been used as a weapon of mass destruction, comparable to what the atom bomb accomplished in seconds. That was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence (hopefully). Killing with guns continues with no end in sight.

    Like

  9. jmgoyder says:

    We have extremely strict gun laws over here. I think that’s a good thing.

    Like

  10. Leah says:

    Thank you for sharing your memory of that day. I can imagine it must have been so scary and the world so unsure. Not unlike how I felt on September 11, 2001.

    Like

  11. Powerful memories… such a hard, sad thing to imagine it was your brother. Such hard losses for your parents, and their young children. Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

    Like

  12. Oh, Lisa, my heart goes out to you and your parents for your loss. And what vivid memories you have. I was in the third grade, and my dad had died the year before. That was the first time I had ever seen my mother cry. Another teacher came into the classroom to tell my teacher, Miss Moag, who started to cry, and I knew something very bad had happened.
    There are lots of people who hate and fear guns, and the inevitable violence they bring about. I would never have one in my house, or go into a house where they are kept. The NRA is an ugly bully that doesn’t care about people. It has such a stranglehold on congress that I don’t know how we can ever break free.

    Like

    • Thank you– and I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing your father at such a young age — you certainly could relate to the young Kennedy children. Guns–sadly — too many in this country view them as a right, not a threat. Not sure these ideas will ever change, no matter how many Sandy Hooks, etc. seem to happen.

      On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 5:37 AM, cyclingrandma

      Like

  13. So well said Lisa. I could not watch any of the programs on JFK this week, I get a lump in my throat and feel sick to this day. I was a sophmore in high school in Dover NJ and I couldn’t understand it either. What unbelievable sorrow for your family, and your last sentence…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s