Fifty years ago today, on November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas. Are you old enough to remember where you were? I am, as is my coworker. She remembers being in 2nd grade when they came in and told the class. She also has memories of watching everything on TV. My story is a bit more complicated.
I am the youngest of 5 children, and was 5 in November of 1963. My mom was in the hospital for an extended period, and I was sent to stay with my least favorite aunt. I remember being really jealous of my sister, just 3 years older, since she got to stay home and hang out with my really fun grandma after school. I, on the other hand, required all day care since Kindergarten was not offered at our neighborhood school, so I was shipped off to my aunts.
My most vivid memories of the assassination were what I saw on TV (black and white I might add). Being only 5 at the time, I remember being upset about the president being shot, but being much more upset that the only thing that was on TV was about the president being shot. Not sure I really understood the whole thing at the time, but I remember the experience.
Thinking about this makes me reflect upon working in the high school library. During junior year, most US History classes require that the students read a biography about an important historical American. Every year I would have to explain to the students who the Kennedy’s were (John aka Jack, and Bobbie) why they were important, and why it would be interesting to read about them. It was always interesting to me to realize that I was now living history. I would tell them what I remembered, the scandals that swirled around them, and the fact that it was all pre internet so for the most part was not out there for everyone to know. Those were the days. When our president could live in the White House, without the whole world watching at all times to see what they were doing wrong.
This leads me to the point where I get to rant a bit. Please do your kids a favor, and start reading nonfiction to them when they are little. As I like to say, and I totally stole from the movie 3 Men and a Baby, it is not what you read; it is how you read it. My children especially liked biographies written for children, as well as Eyewitness books. A children’s encyclopedia was another favorite. We would just open to a random page and read away.
Please share with us your memories of this day, 50 years ago, if you are old enough by leaving comments on the blog.