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Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1973 Reply  |   Post Message  |   Message List
45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary - 18
11/22/08     David Young  (1973)      BYoung1441@aol.com
My parents were big JFK supporters, so, consequently, I thought of him as one of my first heroes. In this day and age, when the President is on the TV addressing the nation, most people say, "yeah, big deal, what ELSE is on?" Remember the early 60s, though? A Presidential address on TV meant EVERYTHING STOPPED. Guess it was just the nature of things then, with the Cold War, anxiety left over from the Cuban Missle Crisis, etc.

Like the rest of the class of '73, I was in the third grade on 11/22/63, at good ol' Patrick Henry Elementary. We came off the playground, and the normal procedure was to take a rest room break and then finish the afternoon in the classroom. This day, however, our teacher made us sit down. Mrs. Stone told us that a terrible thing had happened....President Kennedy had gone to Dallas to make a speech, and had been shot (I remember immediately having a visual image of the man actually giving a speech at a podium and suddenly collapsing mid sentence). She said that there was a radio on in the principal's office (funny, I can still remember what that radio sounded like down the hall), that we did not know yet what his condition was, we would have to wait and see, hope for the best, etc.

We took our rest room break, and I was standing in the doorway of our classroom with our teacher. A first grade teacher (oddly enough, my wife Betty's first grade teacher....she was two years younger, and we did not meet until high school) walked up and simply said, "He's dead."

I remember the rest of the day being sort of upside down. My dad and I had planned on going to the community center by the old high school to do some swimming in their indoor pool, and we followed through on that plan immediately after school. That big pool, and there were only three people there.....me, my dad, and the lifeguard. Swimming in dead silence with only the sound of a little bit of splashing, no conversation, just a feeling of being stunned.

Went to bed that night scared....it seemed like everything was wrong.

Many of you remember that my dad was the minister at Holy Trinity Lutheran, so we were always the last people to leave the church on Sundays. Consequently, two days later, my mom and I were upstairs changing out of our Sunday clothes when my dad came charging up the steps yelling "they shot Oswald! They shot Oswald!" I am the only person I know who was alive then and did not see it live.

A quick side story. When I was getting my Masters at Georgia State, I had an Associate professor who was in the Army at that time, stationed in Korea. Because of the time difference, it was breakfast time over there. In the US, we had no idea, of course, that we had just ramped up to the highest possible military alert immediately after JFK had been shot (could have been an invasion, or God knows what). He said they were going through the chow line, getting their oatmeal, in FULL BATTLE GEAR, with rifles, bayonets attached and unsheathed, in their hands. They were ready to go at a second's notice.

Anyone else have any memories of November 22,1963, which was 45 years ago today?
 
01/07/09     Jeanne Barbour Scott  (1973)      jeame99@yahoo.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
My memory was being in my 3rd grade class at Druid Hills Elementary. The teacher across the hall stuck her head in the door and said to my teacher "D-E-A-D" and closed the door. I remember my teacher's face went ashen.
01/10/09     Kathryn Wedderburn  (1973)      kwedderburn@nycap.rr.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
Its January now, but I remember that day from time-to-time, David. I was in line heading down the stairs to the cafeteria for lunch. Remember how we had to go down those stairs? I can remember the girl who told me, but can't remember her name: it'll probably come to me at 3 a.m.! Couldn't find her in our year book photos, so she may have graduated somewhere else.

So, did a 35th reunion happen? I'd really like to see everyone again. I try to get down to see my mother once a year, at least. It's a big trip for us.

Hope everyone is well. So sorry to hear about Lisa!
01/11/09     David Young  (1973)      BYoung1441@aol.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
Hi, Kathy!

As far as I know, the 35th Reunion didn't happen, so I guess we have to wait until 2013 for the 40th.

Glad to hear you are doing well. My first book, Skits, Raps, and Poems for the School Counselor, gets published next month. I understand from writer friends of mine that I should make enough money from the book to take the family to.....Burger King! We might even get the LARGE fries!

Take care.
07/10/09     Anna Hood Stillman  (1973)      annastillman@yahoo.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
It's odd that I looked at this site today. But David's note stuck a note inside from the past. I saw Katherine Wedderburn's reply. We were in the same class. It was Mrs. Worhle's (sp?) 3rd grade class. I too remember the infamous spelled out letters: D-E-A-D so clearly. I wrote them out on my binder as she said them trying to catch exactly what code they were talking in. I knew shortly after that what had happened. It was Mrs. Isley (tall teacher) that gave out those letters. Unforgettable.
07/15/09     David Young  (1973)      BYoung1441@aol.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
Hi, Jeanne and Anna! Jeanne, are you still in Danville? Anna, where are you living these days? Kathy, are you still up in NY?

Thanks for your thoughts. I've also compared that day to the afternoon when Reagan was shot in 1981. In 1963 it was the most shocking thing imaginable. By 1981, I guess we had been conditioned to the violence, because the reaction to Reagan getting shot was almost, "wow, that's too bad......hey, what's for dinner?"

Weird, huh?
08/07/09     Kathryn Wedderburn  (1975)      kwedderburn@nycap.rr.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
Now we have a new president: it was a long time coming. I remember so well when we "integrated" our classrooms. Was it 6th grade? I was so happy when Obama was elected, yet so scared. Would it happen again to a man who wanted to help our country grow? I still fear for him. Not as much as at 1st, but the memories are strong, aren't they?
08/25/09     Jeanne Barbour Scott  (1973)      jeame99@chatmosscable.com
Re: 45 Years Ago Today: JFK and Patrick Henry Elementary
Hi David

I am still in Danville. My youngest son moved to Atlanta last December and I am flying in to visit next week. He just bought a house and I am dying to see it and Atlanta for the first time. He is planning to take me to a Braves game and celebrate my birthday. He is very exciting that I am finally coming and has planned a multitude of activities.

Congrats on the book. That's a truly great thing!!!
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