President John F. Kennedy was killed fifty years ago today. I realized early this morning after talking with my daughter that I’d never told her where I had been when I heard the news. Odd that it never came up after so many anniversaries of the event.
Being 16 at the time I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to politics. I remember my Republican parents had not voted for President Kennedy and didn’t like him at all. My Mother didn’t think he could be ‘right’ because of his religion. The Cuban crisis had been a huge deal to them because my Dad worked at the local Air Force base. He had been positive that between the crazy blanky blank president and the insane pro-war generals we’d all be nuked within days.
I was at home the day President Kennedy was in Dallas. Curled up on the couch under an itchy wool afghan sort of watching silly games shows and sappy soap operas on the television. Daytime TV in those days was a big yawn. I kept drifting off to sleep. Mom had let me stay home from school because I had a nasty case of stomach flu. My Mother’s dingbat method of dealing with a sick kid wasn’t helping me a lot. She was a Christian Scientist and I still wonder how I survived. She had spent most of the morning telling me I was not sick because it was not possible to be sick. Once she had been in the middle of that speech when I dashed off to throw up again. She’d also been reading things to me out of the “Science and Health” most of the morning. All I wanted to do was crawl off to my room, shut the door and be left alone.
I remember thinking that I must have fallen asleep and was dreaming when I heard the announcement. It just did not seem true at the time. It did give Mom something else to think about.
What would that day have been like if it had happened now in the age of tech gizmos and the internet? Would Oswald have tweeted his intentions? Would he have had a facebook page detailing his strange rants and plans complete with the photo of him and his weapons? If so how many followers would he have had? How long would it have taken the FBI to view all the videos? That is some scary sci-fi type thoughts.
I think President Kennedy did a fine job handling the Cuban crisis and a few other things such as civil rights. I’m glad my Dad was wrong about him. Damn, I feel ancient today.