Squirming Heads and Torsos

Our guest author this month, Dave McGuinness, reminds us of what it was like to be a kid when Kennedy was assassinated. McGuinness is a graduate of Cornell University and Director of Open Placement, specialists in residential accommodations for seniors.

I remember being off from school, I guess, the day after Kennedy was shot. I would've been 6 years old. The four of us kids sitting in front of the grainy, flickering black and white TV that kept showing the same footage of the motorcade and the shooting. We kids kept waiting for cartoons or ...something, anything else to be on TV, my mom occasionally, fretfully, walking through the living room; still needing to do her daily chores. On one crossing through the living room, Mom stops, tearfully says, "I don't know why I'm crying, I didn't even vote for him." !! Which I thought was kinda funny because there were still lots of reasons to cry because America's president was killed. And of course, Carole would have had empathy for Jackie who was also a mom with little kids, like her.

Love you Mom!

Later, at school we planted trees for Kennedy, or maybe for Martin Luther King. And the atom bomb drills continued. Another funny thing: compared to fire drills where we walked out of the building, to prepare for a nuclear attack we practiced calmly walking into the halls, face the wall, tilt your head forward and place your hands clasped behind your neck to protect it from flying objects. I guessed we could have shrapnel in our legs and heads but our spinal column in our neck would be intact. A new race of beings: squirming heads and torsos.

I just wish in grade school when they gave us the music books they told us what those notes meant. I could read the words. "When the caisons, go rolling along. Then it's hi hi hee in the field artilereee..." How exciting! Sign me up to join those cannons! Memorized before the Our Father. Now that was scary, 1960s religion school to prepare for First Communion. Another time as it's bed time.

Let's not do this to the next children.