When the school bus let me off at the top of my street, Dogwood Lane, (is that cute or what), on that day of 22 November 1963, I ran all the way down the street, which wasn’t very long, to alert my mother to what had happened. She didn’t know because she frowned on watching television in general and people didn’t keep the news on 24/7 in those days since there was no such thing as 24/7 news and now that there is I can’t see that it has made life any better.
I burst into the house, “Mom! Mom! The President’s been shot and killed!” My mother immediately went into the den (there were only two televisions in the entire four bedroom house — if you can imagine — both of them black and white because color TV had not been invented) and she turned on the news. I don’t remember who was on, probably Walter Cronkite, although my mother also liked Roger Mudd on NBC since she had watched him on local news in the few years we lived in Mobile. But whoever was on it was clear from watching them that something very, very bad had happened and the announcer, probably we were watching Walter Cronkite, kept intoning that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas.
It is a terrible, terrible irony of history that Jack Kennedy gave a speech when he was President and said that every member of his generation could remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. That each person of my generation would remember exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot and killed was obviously not something he could foresee.