What I Remember About That Terrible Friday In 1963

  • Friday, November 24, 2023
Reading the rememberances of that date by my friend Earl took me back to that time in my early life.  It was, as he said, a Friday, and I was in Civics class. Bob Sanford, a big man with a voice to match, was the teacher. About halfway through the class, a messenger came to the door with the news of the shooting of the President. Soon another message told us that the buses were on the way. and we would be dismissed as soon as they arrived. 
 
I don't remember much about the ride to White Oak on Mr.
Sivley's ugly orange school bus. It was a GMC, and I never saw another school bus that color. The walk home from Memorial Drive was uneventful. I do remember we neighborhood kids talking some about what had happened, but mostly we appreciated getting out of school a couple of hours early. At home, the TV was on, and Mom was mostly upset because her soap operas were pre-empted.
 
As the weekend unfolded, countless video taped reruns were on all three channels. The radio played solemn funeral dirges constantly on ALL stations.. everything stopped. The skies were overcast it seems for the whole next week. I got to see Lee Harvey Oswald dispatched by Jack Ruby, "up close and personal" as they say. Although I had seen countless cowboys put away over the years, I realized that this was the first one that wouldn't be getting up and heading to the pay window. As I found out a few years later, it wouldn't be the last, as I made my way to that war that President Kennedy was threatening to end.
 
 The following week was more of the same, the funeral, and more mourning, Thanksgiving fell on the 28th of Nevember that year, and it seems that, after that, things began to normalize. 
 
These are just some of the recollections of a kid who who had just turned 14, 60 years ago. Earl's perspective was different, because he was already functioning in the adult world, getting ready for a lifelong career, doing what he always knew he wanted to do, and in the process, becoming a local icon. Thank you, Earl, and thak you, John, for giving us this forum. The only true "free press" we have left.
 
Donny Hill 
Memories
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