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Still remember

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By Special to The Sun

I was in my eighth-grade civics class at Springfield Elementary School (Middle School did not exist there then—eighth-grade play, eighth-grade trip and eighth-grade graduation were BIG events then—a simpler time).  Some adult came to our class to tell us about the president being shot.  We were all in shock!  These things did not happen 50 years ago.

I noticed they did not go to the room next door where my favorite seventh- and eighth-grade history teacher was teaching—Mrs. Anna Mae Clarkson. 

She and I shared a love for Thomas Jefferson as one of the greatest presidents.  Nearly 15 years later, I would send her a postcard from my visit to Monticello, the home of Jefferson.  

As our Civics class was going to the library, I asked our teacher Mrs. Gladys Brown if I could be excused.  

I went to Mrs. Clarkson’s room and asked her to come into the hall.  I there told her the news of the assassination.  Mrs. Clarkson and her ill husband Tom were Catholic.  Mrs. Clarkson feared that the killing of our first Catholic president would adversely affect her husband, so she went to the office to call him.  (No cell phones a half century ago.)  He was upset by the news, but he was OK.

The entire weekend, we spent every moment we could watching the coverage on our black and white TV.  No color TVs that we knew of.  We had only had a TV about five years.  Imagine, I was raised to age 7 or 8 without a TV - a simpler time.  We entertained ourselves by riding bike and going to the creek to play—sometimes swinging on grapevines.

How old am I anyway?—ahh, only 63—I was a mere 13 years old the day the president died.

On Sunday, we had just returned from services at Bethlehem Baptist Church near Texas (in Washington County).  We were watching TV to get a good look at suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald when we saw LIVE on TV his being shot by Jack Ruby.  

It was a time of great uncertainty as we feared this could be a communist plot to overthrow our government.  We had just come through the Cuban Missile Crisis a year before.

Those around my age and older will always recall where they were when they got the news - The President of The United States has been shot!    
Thanks for letting me share.

Mike Crain,
3648 Leisure Creek Court, Lexington
—age 63 now,  13 on Nov. 22, 1963