Lest We Forget

Where were you, if you were, 59 years ago today?

I was a fourth grader at the Edward Devotion School in Brookline, Massachusetts. I was 9. My family had been in the USA for 24 days, having flown into Logan Airport on October 29, 1963.

I knew that the President of the United States had spent his primary school years at the same school that I was now attending, and I was proud that Dad worked at the same university where the President had graduated.

That grey Friday afternoon, Mum walked to school and picked me up. I was excited to be going home to our small apartment on Babcock Street to watch Boston’s own “Bozo the Clown” show on the first television we had ever owned.

As we entered the building, the janitor wove his way over to us. Tears were streaming down his face. “Whatever is the matter?” Mum asked him, with some irritation because he was in the way.

“The President’s been shot,” he mumbled, breaking into sobs.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Mum.

We climbed the stairs, with Mum muttering under her breath, “Drunken old fool.” To be fair, he was extremely inefficient, and generally rather the worse for wear, so her supposition seemed reasonable at the time.

When she opened the door, I rushed over and turned on the television.   And there it was.

Mum phoned up Dad at the Center for International Affairs to tell him the shocking news.

And thus did Harvard University learn of the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

1 thought on “Lest We Forget”

  1. I was 13 and a pupil at the Abbey school, Malvern Wells. From half way up the spiral stone staircase leading into School House I heard Matron telling girls as they got to the top of the stairs ‘the American president has been shot’. I remember feeling shocked and saddened; we had been told what a good, strong leader he was.

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