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Jack R Roberts

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November 22, 1963
By Jack R Roberts
Saturday, October 12, 2002

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There are certain events that happen in our lives that burn themselves into our memory forever. Some burn so deeply that you never forget where you were or what you were doing when it happened. November 22, 1963 was for me, as it was with most people, one of those days. I seem to recall that it was a cloudy morning. My mother dropped us off at school and I hurried to my fourth grade class. Just like any other morning I went to the cloakroom, hung my coat and stocking cap on my designated hook, and then when to my seat in the classroom. Mrs. Crouse was my fourth grade teacher. She was a very proper woman, an elderly woman well versed in manners and etiquette. That day started out a normal day. Mrs. Crouse had a split class that year. It was a large classroom and on one side was my forth grade class, on the other side was a fifth grade class, both in the same room. She would teach us our lesson, then as we worked on it she would go over and teach the fifth grade class. Seems it would be confusing but it did work out real well.
Awhile into the day we had started on our penmanship lesson, we were learning to write. Mrs. Crouse being the proper woman that she was, taught us that we would stand facing the blackboard with our left arm placed behind us rested on our lower back.. We would hold the chalk a certain way in our right hand and she would have us start drawing tall ovals over and over on top of one another. This repetitious maneuver was to train us in the proper motion that our hand would move as we wrote. However being left-handed this was all backward to me.
She was standing at the blackboard on this morning giving us instruction when the school secretary knocked on the door and motioned Mrs. Crouse to step outside. We could see them talking outside the door and some of us used the opportunity to throw a spitball or two at someone. When she came back into the room she stood facing the blackboard for a second, put her chalk into the tray and turned to face the class. Mrs. Crouse had a very concerned look on her face as she said, " Class, our President has been shot ď. Being a nine year old boy, that news didnít seem to have much of an impact on me at the time. I knew who President Kennedy was, but all I knew about him was that when he was talking on our black and white television set we would miss our favorite television programs.
Not long after that, we were practicing our writing skills at our desks as the second knock came at the door. Mrs. Crouse quickly got up from her desk to once again talk to the secretary. She came back into the room, this time with tear filled eyes and told us in her proper, but now trembling voice that our President was dead. I donít have any recollection as to what happened during the rest of the day at school, but I do recall running to the car after school to tell my Mother of the news. I got in the car and told my mother what had happened, but her red and puffy eyes made it obvious that she had already heard.
There was no school for the next few days following the assassination, they were rainy gloomy fall days as I recall. We couldnít go out and play and the television was nothing but assassination coverage. I do recall an image of my mother watching the funeral as she stood in the living room at the ironing board sprinkling water on the clothes from an RC pop bottle that had a corked sprinkler head on it. However I donít think the sprinkler was necessary, as my mothers was shedding enough tears to do the job.
Wounds heal with time and this one was no different, though it did leave some scars. We were soon back to normal days at school and our favorite programs had returned for us to enjoy on the television. Though I didnít realize it at the time, the world did change on that autumn day in November. My family and neighbors would speak it of for years to come.
As time has passed I have grown to understand the impact that events such as this play in our lives. The space shuttle disaster and now the tragedy of September 11 are also events that I will always remember where I was and what I was doing when it happened.

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Reviewed by Janet Terry 1/4/2003
Good job Jack, very descriptive and realistic story.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 10/12/2002
President Kennedy's assasination was the first clear memory I have. I was just 4 years old, and I didn't understand why my mommy and daddy or my grandma were so upset!! I will never forget that day!! Thanks for the memories, unpleasant though they were!! Good write, Jack!! Love, your friend, Karen Lynn. (((HUGS))) :)

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