About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, September 27, 2010

K is for Kennedy, John Fitzgerald

When I was a young teen, I used to suffer from excruciating cramps. Inevitably, every month I'd be either throwing up or passing out from the pain. And so it happened that I was passed out in bed the afternoon of November 23, 1963, when my mother ran into my room and called me to follow her downstairs to watch TV. Something dreadful had happened.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, had been killed by an assassin while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Hot water bottle clutched to my lower belly, I sat transfixed as the news was reported. Days, weeks, months, years later people still talk about the grassy knoll, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the Warren Commission. One of the most poignant images I still have in my own memory is the one when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President while aboard Air Force One in the wake of the assassination. There are no smiling faces, just grim images of people doing what was necessary for the country. And Jacqueline Kennedy in her blood-stained pink suit, looks on in shock as she stands beside the new President.
Kennedy's assassination affected people all over the world and here in Canada, it was like losing one of our own. The Kennedy clan has a certain mystique that persists to this day and has even been called American Royalty. I've read books about this family and watched movies about them. They have been touched by the most horrific tragedies yet they persevere in life.
Although I was too young to know much about politics, John Kennedy seemed like a wonderful man to me (even though he was flawed, or perhaps I should say "human" as I later learned), and he and his family epitomized the best of the best. As a relatively young President, Kennedy not only worked hard at his job, but also made sure to take time for his family, allowing young Caroline and John Jr. to romp in the Oval office.
His famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country" is embedded in my brain. And I like to remember them as a shining example of brilliance, devotion not only to family but also to country, and deep understanding of the human spirit.
May those Kennedys who have passed away rest in peace and may those still living enjoy peace and tranquility until they join their ancestors in eternity.
So, do you remember where you were on November 23, 1963?


mrsnesbitt said...

I don't remember where I was at the time but I remember the funeral. I remember his son saluting as the coffin drove by. I also remember his words "We choose to go to the moon and do these other things - not because thay are hard!" Words Jon & I always use when we are on with a difficult job.
Great choice Leslie! Thanks for this....I am sure it will cause many people to sit up and think today.


Gigi Ann said...

I sure do remember what I was doing when I heard the news...I was in my living room watching TV while I was ironing clothes. Oh yes, we did iron clothes in those days. Really, it only seems like yesterday in my memories. I think everyone was glued to their TV sets for the next few days. Nice commentary about the Kennedy era, Leslie.

Carver said...

I was in elementary school and I remember our teacher telling us what had happened. Sad, sad day . . .

Great idea for the letter K.

Mimi said...

Indeed I do, Leslie, and it's one of my earliest memories.
It was the day before my 6th birthday. I remember my Dad coming home from work, mid-afternoon (unheard of!),and saying "President Kennedy is dead". His eyes were full of tears.

I'm Irish, and the Kennedy's Irishness was a big thing to us. We were so proud of him, and so happy that he visited our little country in June 1963.

I know he had his faults (or that he was human, as you rightly say), but I think he was great.
And I agree that the kennedy clan have had so many tragedies to overcome- they're a brave family.

Sylvia K said...

I remember every moment of that day, week, month! I was in my 20s and had gone back to college. I lived in Dallas and I was there on November 23.

Terrific post for the K Day!


Kay L. Davies said...

I was working in my family's print shop when a friend came in to tell us. I sat down in the corner behind the press and cried. I was almost 17.
Not long before that, I had told my mother Winston Churchill was going to die.
She asked me why I thought that, and I told her I had a dream, and, in it, everyone in the world was crying. The only person I could think of who was important enough, and old enough to die, was Churchill. I certainly didn't think of anyone as young and vibrant as JFK.
So all I could do when he died was cry. All the rest, Oswald and Ruby, came later, the years of theories and speculations, and few answers.
An excellent choice for the letter K, Leslie. And thank you for visiting my blog.
-- Kay, Alberta

Reader Wil said...

I certainly know where I was and what I was doing. I was at home dusting my livingroom and listening to the wireless. It was about 6 pm. My husband of a month was about to come home from work.We were all devastated! And later his brother Bobby was murdered and then Martin Luther King. All people who were important for the world.

RuneE said...

A most memorable day, and a very appropriate K.

nancygrayce said...

I was in my 6th grade classroom. We stopped everything, stood and had a silent prayer. The sad thing about that memory is that the prayer wouldn't be allowed today!

My grandmother loved JFK and won a rocking chair that is a replica of his. I have it in my living room today.

Gattina said...

That was indeed a terrible day. I was in a Supermarket in Brussels, when we heard the news. He also was very appreciated in Europe.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Yes. I distinctly remember where I was. In 4th grade in the classroom. The principal announced it over the PA. We were all in shock and the teacher allowed us to wander outside. We all stood outside looking up at the sky and the sun had ice crystals around it. Not something you see very often in Hawaii.
Great post!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I do know that I was 7 and living in Singapore ... but no recollection of anything else. I am absolutely rubbish with memories from the past .. even my own childhood.

I often wonder how lots of people have great or sad memories from the past and when they were very young. I often wonder if I have a memory bank in my brain ..LOL ..

photowannabe said...

I was walking to my afternoon class in college when the news flew like wildfire. It was such a tragic time for our country.
I was privileged to be in a top marching band in High School. We were chosen to march in JFK's inaugural parade. Over 150 of us flew from California to Washington DC to be in his tribute. Its an awesome memory I will never forget.

EG CameraGirl said...

That was indeed a memorable day! You're right, most of us remember exactly where we were.

Roger Owen Green said...

I may do my own post on this some day on this. I was in 5th grade. I was obsessed by this. I saw Oswald get shot on live TV. I had clippings of the newspaper stories about the Warren Report.

Off topic, I got some damn Internet award, and I passed it on to you. Pls do NOT feel obliged to do anything.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Unknown said...

Ah, yes. Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline. Such shock waves that went through the nation and the world.

My ABC Wednesday Post

Willa said...

Sometimes I wonder if kennedy is happy with what's going on in America.

Tumblewords: said...

Oh, yes, I remember. My younger daughter was having a tonsillectomy so I was at the hospital. A horrible day...and there were more to come. Hate is such an ugly thing.

magiceye said...

dont remember where i was but remember the news it made in mumbai too

Wanda said...

I remember exactly were I was. My second daughter was a baby then, and I was changing her on the couch, when the breaking news came on the TV! We sat glued to it for days.

What a sad sad day for our Country.

(HaHaHa... I do remember my teenage years with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel laying on my tummy. What memories.

Beverley Baird said...

Oh yes - I remember that day and the days and weeks that followed very well. It seems we were all transfixed with the horrible news.
I was in Grade 6 and the announcement came over the PA!
Great post (and reminder) for the week Lesley!

Rajesh said...

He is a great personality.

kat said...

Ohhh i was not born yet at that time. He was assassinated 2 days before i was born.

Thanks for the brief history of his life. I only knew that the 35th USA President was assassinated when I was in College.

Thanks for dropping by.

Shrinky said...

What a lovely post, Leslie - and a wonderful tribute to a great man. I was only 3 at the time, so have no real recollections of that sad day, although I certainly am aware now of the tragic event - I doubt there are many in the Western world who isn't.

Cheryl said...

I was a first grader and this still whirls around in my head on Nov 22. Camelot and the dreams of a nation were shattered that day. The fall-out continues.

Trubes said...

I was in a popular Liverpool club' bopping away to a group called The Swinging Blue Jeans, who were one of the many popular and successful Liverpool groups, when The Beatles were riding high.
We were all astounded and lots of young people were openly weeping.
There was a minute's silence, and then, although we tried to enjoy the rest of the evening, my friend and I left early to join our families to glue ourselves to the TV and watch the ongoing news.

Unknown said...

Leslie and everyone, thank you so much for sharing your memories of that day. I too almost posted Kennedy for today, but it would have been my photo of a handmade poster for Robert Kennedy's campaign in Indiana in 1968. I'll post it tomorrow's post-K world.
I was in Cambridge in graduate school in 1963, had walked home from class, turned on the radio and heard Walter Cronkhite announce JFK's death. All I could say was, No, no, it can't be true, it can't be true.
The next four days are a blur spent in our landlord's apartment upstairs. He had a TV. JFK was the first president I voted for and all Irish Americans were very proud of what his election meant. America is the land where bit by bit we do knock down the prejudices of our world. It just seems to take much too long.

Joy said...

For some reason I don't remember, though I do remember vividly the Cuban Missile crisis, my friends younger sister (6) thought she was going to die.
Kennedy had such vision, the sadness and waste of a unique man never recedes every time the clip of the motorcade is shown.

LisaF said...

I was a kindergartener when this happened so I don't remember the actual day. I was more interested in crayons and scissors. Obviously it was covered in depth in American history classes in the years to come. Now that Teddy is gone, I wonder if there's a Kennedy that will take up the mantle and continue the legacy.

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, this past Sunday was the 50th anniversary of the 1st Kennedy-Nixon TV debate.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I remember too. It was school speech day and when I got home it was on the news - we were so shocked!

Jingle said...

that's lovely reminders.
cool k post.

Francisca said...

November 23? Not a clue. Probably sitting in my grade 2 class in Helsinki. :-D Interesting to read the comments. Good K theme, Leslie.

@Gamma Ann - you mean you don't iron clothes today?

Pondside said...

Grade eight in a small school on an air station in southern Ontario. The announcement came over the PA and we were all sent home. I arrived home to learn that my mother had gone to the hospital to have my new brother and, later that night we received a telegram (yes, they still came!) that my paternal grandfather had died as his first grandson came into the world. It was quite a day.
I found you via Sarah Katt - had to re-trace my steps to figure that out!

Unknown said...

I promise to post the RFK poster from the 1968 presidential primaries and it is now up:

It speaks to what was so much on our minds that year. The night that Martin Luther King was assassinated, Robert Kennedy spoke of his death in a black neighborhood in Indianapolis quoting from Aeschylus, “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, yes, I remember it very well. It was around 7 pm in the UK when the news came in and there was no "Live on the scene" reporting then. After it was confirmed that JFK had died th BBC played solemn music for the rest of the evening. It was a terrible shock and I think the world grew older at that moment.