45 years ago

I was just thinking, remembering, what I was doing 45 years ago today.

I was a third grader in Miss Barto’s class. As we were walking in our little line from the lunchroom (it was Friday, hamburger day), Miss Barto stopped for a word with another teacher, Mrs. Webb. As we filed into the classroom, Miss Barto followed in and was very agitated.

I have to explain, these were the early days of public television. We had TVs on tall green stands that rolled from room to room. As Miss Barto rushed in, she stopped and turned on the TV and switched the channel off of public television. That’s the first real hint something was going on. That TV was never turned off PBS.

The class then became excited and started asking what was going on. At first she wouldn’t tell us, saying she didn’t want to say anything until she found out if it was true or a rumor. But as she tuned in CBS, we kept after her. Finally she said, “Mrs. Webb told me that President Kennedy has been shot. But it may not be true.” But as she tuned in Channel 5, it quickly became obvious that it was true.

We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the darkened classroom watching the news unfold. At some point another class joined us.

We were a bunch of 8 year olds watching Walter Cronkite report history. We saw that famous announcement that you have seen so many times on documentaries as it happened We really didn’t understand any issues or politics. All we knew was that President Kennedy was dead. It was sad. It was important. And we didn’t really understand.

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~ by susancyclist on November 22, 2008.

One Response to “45 years ago”

  1. My wife was having her birthday party (6 years old). All the parents came and took their children away. She didn’t understand either.

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