Thursday, November 21, 2013

A half a century old

There is the Challenger.  And, of course, 9-11.  And when John Lennon died.  We remember another Kennedy's assassination and Martin Luther King's.  And when we heard that four of our peers were murdered in Ohio because they protested the war. (Actually two of them were protesting. The other two were just nearby).  Most of us over 60 can tell you when they heard the news about these events.

But none of us, not one of us, will ever forget where they were fifty years ago tomorrow.

It was also a Friday. I was home from school and at the grocery store. My mother had sent me for a product called Lawry's Garlic Spread.  In the King Kullen I heard some conversation that gave me a sense.  Couldn't find the garlic spread. Went to a convenience store two places away in the strip mall. Found the garlic spread.  The usual affable owner was listening to the radio somberly.

"What happened?" I asked.

"They've shot the president."

I paid for the garlic spread and started home. My brother met me at the light and asked me if I had heard. I told him.  He mentioned how the president's will to live was identified on the radio as being such that he would survive.  We got home and heard Walter Cronkite tell us the news.

Fifty years later.  There are few hours that are more vivid in my memory bank.  If you are thirty or so, ask your parents.  I guarantee they can tell you in detail about that day five decades ago.  Go ask them if they know where their keys are, you have only a fifty fifty chance. This recollection of a half century ago is a lock.

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