Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22nd, 1963

Friday. Fifth Grade. Friday was Club Day for the fifth and sixth grades; I was in the Citzenship Club.
What were we discussing? I can't remember. Part of my mind may have been focused on the upcoming weekend.
Then the announcement came on the Public Address System.
What we'd been discussing, what I may have been thinking about, no longer mattered.
President Kennedy had been shot, and they didn't know if he was going to live.
Up until that moment, I had thought that presidents getting shot was something that happened
in the past. Not now.
I remember going outside at dismissal time, and seeing my Baba and her friend Mickey coming towards the school. Baba USED to pick me up from school, but she hadn't for several years, and she had always come alone.
I knew then.
I looked at Baba and Mickey.
"He's dead, isn't he?"
Baba nodded.
"Yes. He's dead."
And my next words?
"But what are his kids going to do without their daddy?"
Or something like that.
I knew that losing their daddy was a worse tragedy to those children than losing a president
was to us.
It is a simple matter to fill the Office of President; the Vice-President is sworn in almost immediately after the death of an incumbent.
But there is no such office as Vice-Daddy.