Villa Prezelski: Remembering the day Kennedy died

On Nov. 22, 1963 I used to be simply couple of months in my freshman 12 months on the College of Arizona. I frolicked with about 10 or 12 children at “our” desk within the part of the Pupil Union generally known as The Coop. We have been largely children from Pueblo Excessive, nonetheless uncomfortable on this planet of 300-seat lecture rooms and rich fraternity boys by which we discovered ourselves. We clung to one another as if we have been life strains in a stormy sea.

I used to be sipping on a Coke when Janie got here in. She wasn’t from Pueblo, however she had joined our group and match proper in. Janie was upset. She mentioned that Kennedy had been shot. We didn’t consider her. She repeated the story, begged us to consider her and commenced to cry. Then we realized what she was saying was true.

It was then that a few of us remembered that the one-and-only tv within the constructing was downstairs, in Louie’s Decrease Stage. We ran down and I received there simply in time to see Walter Cronkite take off his black-rimmed glasses, combat again the tears and say that the president was lifeless. There should have been 100 individuals in that room however you might have heard a pin drop. All of us simply stood there watching that black and white picture on the display, hoping Cronkite would come again on and inform us there had been a mistake.

Only some moments handed earlier than I noticed the necessity speak to my dad and mom. They didn’t pay attention a lot to the radio anymore and the tv didn’t come on till after lunch. I climbed the steps and went to the row of picket cellphone cubicles within the Pupil Union foyer.

Papa by no means answered the cellphone, so I knew that it might be Mama I’d be speaking to. I didn’t deal with the scenario very tactfully. I barely gave her time to say “hey” earlier than I blurted out in Spanish “Mama, they killed the president!” She had me repeat what I had simply mentioned after which yelled out the information to Papa.

They later advised me that they had simply sat all the way down to lunch after I known as. Meals was by no means allowed to go to waste at our home, however that day the lunch was left uneaten. Mama and Papa spent the remainder of the afternoon doing what most of People did that day, with their eyes mounted on the tv.

Once I received again to The Coop many of the children have been already there. The information was that courses had been cancelled however nobody appeared to be in any hurry to go residence. No matter dialog there was was spoken in hushed, brief sentences. Most of what we mentioned has lengthy since light from my reminiscence however I do bear in mind one thing John mentioned. “Gee,” he mentioned concerning the cancellation of courses. “I want I had identified. I’d have made plans.” He was too shell-shocked, in fact, to appreciate what he was saying and we have been too shocked to react to it. In truth, it took me a number of years to course of it.

The subsequent a number of days have been a blur. I watched Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald on stay tv. I watched the funeral in Washington and realized about riderless horses and different traditions that have been new to me. I additionally discovered myself occupied with shallow, foolish issues. How, I puzzled, might Jackie stroll that complete procession in excessive heels?

When courses began once more my first one was Western Civilization, a type of large courses, taught in auditorium-sized lecture corridor. The professor, Dr. Donahoe, was very old school and ran a good ship. His educating assistants would lock the doorways when his lecture started, so late comers have been out of luck. We had assigned seats and the T.A.s took attendance. He as soon as caught a pupil attempting to tape the lecture and kicked him out. However on this primary day again Dr. Donahoe confirmed his softer facet. He all the time started his lecture with the identical phrase. “Allow us to proceed,” he would say after which open his pocket book. This lecture started in another way. “Beneath these circumstances,” he mentioned solemnly. “It’s tough to proceed, however that’s what we should do.”

Now we have continued, my college, my nation and me. However anybody who lived by these painful occasions will let you know: Now we have gone on. However we’re without end modified and just a bit bit scarred.