Four Dark Days in History: November 22, 23, 24, 1963, Collector's copy $1.00, copyright 1963, Special Publications, Inc., Los Angeles 28, Calif.
Along the bottom of the front cover it says, "A Photo History of President Kennedy's Assassination." I never understood that. Even at 11, I knew there was something wrong with the way that was written, as if JFK owned the event. Inside, all black and white pictures, most of which appeared in newspapers, tell the story with brief, factual captions. So many of those pictures...
In sixth grade, the classes after lunch were always "lighter," and we had lots of breaks. We had one of those that day, and I remember that we had the partition rolled open between our room (Mr. Wenner's class) and the one next door (Mr. Campbell's class). Right at that point, a teacher from down the hall (I don't remember her name) scurried into our classroom and whispered something into Mr. Wenner's ear. One of the kids in the front row heard part of it, and immediately turned and relayed to us (not in a whisper) "The governor of Texas has been shot!"
She probably saw some pretty puzzled looks. Why would a sixth grade teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland be so upset about the governor of Texas? One of the boys in front of me shot back, "Is he dead?" No answer - because Mr. Wenner was turning away from the other teacher, nodding, and holding his hands up for us to listen.
Inside the front cover there are two yellowed pages that apparently came from a teletype machine (maybe from my Dad's office - he worked for the government) with the date in my cursive 11-year-old handwriting written at the top: November 22, 1963, my Dad's 43rd birthday. The type is all in black capital letters, with a symbol at the top '-V-' and a first sentence that drifts vertically down the page, as if someone had started to pull it from the teletype machine as it was printing:
GOV JOHN B CONNALLY OF TEXAS ALSO WAS CUT-
THE PRESIDENT WAS SLUMPED OVER IN THE
BACKSEAT OF THE CAR FACE DOWN - CONNALY LAY ON
HTE FLOOR OF THE REAR SEAT
...and it continues like this for a page. Then at the top of the second page, there is a headline:
N Y STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSES
FOR REST OF THE DAY
...followed by a one line story, and then back to a Dallas (AP) dateline.
There are several photo pages of documentation about Lee Harvey Oswald in the middle. The last one is the one of Oswald in custody and a man in a fedora (in the right foreground) pointing a pistol at his midsection. There are pictures of the funeral, and there is a picture on the inside back cover of a very young sweet-looking John-John with his right hand at his temple in a salute.
My only other memory of that day is the walk home from school (early?) and the strange feeling that something was happening that was somehow different from anything else, even though the street was the same, the trees were the same, and everything was the same on the outside. Something felt very different on the inside.