A week ago I posted some comments and a photo of President John F. Kennedy’s casket and his widow and children kneeling in front of it. It was November 22, and 53 years before Lee Harvey Oswald ended the young President’s life in Dallas, Texas.
The post elicited six comments from people living back in 1963, most in elementary school, junior high or high schools. They had distinct memories of how they felt when they heard the news.
A high school classmate of mine wrote: “My first real glimpse of hatred and despair in the world.”
A cousin said: “I never thought an assassination of a President could ever happen in modern times.”
Two of my reviewers on the Online Writers Workshop of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror had similar thoughts. One wrote: “When the principal made the announcement over the P.A., my first thought was, ‘I hope the Russians don’t nuke us.’” The other: “I thought the world was coming to an end.”
My memories are not as vivid.
I do remember being called to my elementary school cafeteria to be told the awful news. I do remember sitting in the den through the next few days and seeing the ‘live’ news coverage of the murder of the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, by Jack Ruby, and the Kennedy’s funeral. And I do remember the decades that followed filled with news documentaries on the Warren Report and the various conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination.
Back then I was in the sixth grade, one of the kings of Meyers Elementary School in Rialto, California. Soon, though, I’d be just a seventh-grade peon at Norco Junior High in nearby Corona. Dad worked at a solid-rocket testing and manufacturing facility in the desert outside Rialto and Fontana. Soon, though, the facility would be closed, and he’d move onto another aerospace job in Newport Beach. That was our life out there – dependent on the military contracts of the federal government in the Cold War era.
But all things come to an end. In the fall of 1965, as the Vietnam War heated up, dad and mom decided to return the family to Ohio to be closer to aging relatives. He accepted a job at B.F. Goodrich, but not in aerospace. Instead, he chose to join a new venture – experimenting with an artificial shoe leather called Aztran. I even got to wear a pair of test shoes after we moved back to Wadsworth, Ohio.
As an adult, I’ve worked my share of jobs in three states as a newspaper reporter and technical writer. Now retired, I’m back living in the West – in Henderson, just outside Las Vegas, surrounded by Mojave Desert terrain, just like when I was a kid in Rialto and Corona.
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I like to write novels. I have a published fantasy series to my credit. I call it the Larenia’s Sword trilogy. Check them out on the websites of Barnes & Noble and Amazon. See the jazzy covers for ‘The Emperor’s Mistress,’ ‘Thief’s Coin,’ and ‘Assassins’ Lair.’ They’re topnotch artwork by Wings ePress’s artist Richard Stroud.
I’m currently working on a Civil War romance novel. I’ve titled it ‘Blessed Shadows Dark & Deep.’ It’s been written and is now being edited. I hope to submit it to the publisher of my fantasy novels sometime early in 2017.
I have an Author’s Page on Facebook where you can keep up with my writing efforts. Sometimes I post short stories on the page as well as updates on the Civil War novel. Type in ‘Michael Staton’ in Facebook’s search field to find the page. It’s the only one with a book cover as a profile photo. No one wants to see my face, right?