Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Day at the Drinking Fountain

Drinking Fountain

Wow, does that look old?  Brings back memories to me…memories of a particular day, a day that people my age and older always remember.

Cabrillo Elementary School

I was at this elementary school in Sacramento.  The time was around 11:00 am Pacific Time, perhaps just a little before that.  It was recess time, and I was thirsty on this cool morning, sunny but in the mid-40’s.  I got my sip of water and I heard two teachers talking with each other…something about the President being shot in Dallas. 

Just before Kennedy is shot

It was Friday, November 22, 1963…a fateful day for our nation.  Our 35th President was shot dead while parading in a open convertible along Dealey Plaza, a Dallas city park built in 1940 as a WPA project.  Many times through the years I would visit his grave in Arlington…along with that of his brother Bobby.  I also visited Dealey Plaza a few times while living in Arkansas.  Truly a piece of history.  People come, they look, they point, they take pictures.  Some enter the book depository…some just drive along the route.

People crying outside the hospital, Kenndy is dead

I went over and told a few school friends about the shooting, no one believed me.  I went closer to the school office where a few teachers were standing around, tears in their eyes.  I asked if what I had heard was true, and one lady told me yes, and that they had just announced that the President had died.  She was sobbing.  They closed school down early on this day…I cannot remember how I got home, or if anyone was at home when I got there. What I do remember is the TV going for what seemed the entire weekend long, and on Monday too.

Jack Ruby takes out Oswald

The TV was full of the news of the event, and the event which followed when Oswald got shot by Jack Ruby on Sunday. 

Kennedy coffin in the White House

On Saturday, the coffin containing Kennedy’s body sits in the White House.  On Sunday his body lay in state under the Capital Dome.  Hundreds of thousands of people walk through the capital...it is a gloomy time...and the TV covers it all.  It was a time when we all looked for answers, and names like Cronkite, and Huntley and Brinkley were news people who  we all could trust, and they provided what answers they were able to give.

JFK Jr. salutes his daddy

On Monday President Kennedy was buried.  I can remember watching much of the procession from Capital to  St. Matthew's Cathedral, the flag-draped casket of President Kennedy borne by a horse-drawn caisson.  Later, the procession proceeded on  to Arlington.  I can remember the the sounds of the muffled drums and the clacking of horses.  The military flyover at the cemetery…and the 21 gun salute.  And again, the many tears…

Back to School
On Tuesday we were back in school…but just for two days because Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Sometimes my birthday falls on Thanksgiving…not that year, it fell on Saturday, as the nation mourned the day after our President was shot and killed I tried to celebrate my birthday.  It was a hard time back then.  In 1962 many of us were scared to death that nuclear missiles would hit our country at any moment.  In May of ‘63 riots took place in Birmingham.  The summer of 1963 saw civil rights protests in many American cities.  And then there was this place called Viet Nam, which was just starting to be in the news.   One has to wonder how we got through it…but we did…and I have faith and confidence that we will get through our current turmoil.  At least that is what I plan to wish for when I blow out those candles tomorrow.  Happy birthday to me...


  1. I posted my Happy Birthday wishes to you on your previous post before I noticed you had sent a new post. Oh, well. The wishes are the same: have a great one, Dave.

    Cat Lady

    1. Thanks you Judy, I saw that...answering here. Marcia is doing well, it has been a quiet birthday, heard from the family, all is well.


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