I was sitting at my desk, cutting a pilgrim hat from black construction paper. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Tullis, was taping the hats, and some paper turkeys, to the window that looked out on the playground. My school was one of those old country school houses, with three classrooms, and a cafeteria that doubled as a library. The third grade teacher, who was also the principal, called Mrs. Tullis, and the second grade teacher out of class. I looked out the door and saw the three of them crying. I had lost my grandfather six months earlier, and knew when grownups cried like that, it must be something bad.
Mrs. Tullis walked back into the classroom and announced President Kennedy had been shot. I don't think she said he had been killed. Maybe she didn't know yet.
They released us from school, and I walked home with my brothers.
My mom was crying when we got home. She, like most homemakers that day, were watching As The World Turns, when the news broke. It was the saddest day, and we watched it over and over on our black and white TV.
As children, we had no idea, of the fear and uncertainties the country was facing. We knew it happened in Texas, but not that the rest of the country hated us. I asked why Oswald did it, and was told he was a Communist. Then, we saw Jack Ruby kill Oswald on television, and knew our questions would never be answered.
We watched the funeral procession, the flag draped casket pulled down the street on a horse drawn wagon, all day. We saw little John John's salute as it happened. And then, it was over...until 1968.