The Daily Gazette’s “Kennedy Project” received many noteworthy submissions. We’re excerpting some additional memories received.
On November 22, 1963, my husband and I were residents of Takoma Park, Md., a suburb outside of Washington D.C. On this day in history, I was leaving my doctor’s office, being told all symptoms of my pneumonia were gone. His nurse came running outside to tell me what had happened to President Kennedy. Together, we shed tears and kept repeating that “such a thing can’t happen in our country.”
— Helene Brogan, Schenectady
I was a waitress, and around 1 p.m. that day I was with six to eight ladies waiting for their lunch. When the news came they got up and walked out crying, myself as well. I still relive that time over and over again. His loss stays with me.
— Fran Copp, Amsterdam
I had just fed my 6-month-old daughter, settled my toddler for a nap and sat down to enjoy “As the World Turns” when Walter Cronkite broke the news that the president had been shot. My husband was working out of state, so I was alone with the two little ones. I spent the whole weekend in front of the TV. I saw Oswald shot right in front of my eyes! I will never, never forget the images of that horrible time. What stands out the most is the image of Jackie holding it all together and being so brave.
— Sally Farrell, Clifton Park
I was lying on the couch in our living room ready to take my afternoon nap. My mother was ironing next to the couch while watching “As the World Turns.” A news bulletin came across the old black and white TV set saying that the president had just been shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. I remember my mother starting to cry as she listened to the newscast. Even at 4 years old, I felt the terror and sadness of the death of our handsome young president. My mother’s tears seemed so personal — as though she were grief-stricken over the death of a family member. The grief was that close.
— Teri P. Gay, Charlton
That Friday was one of the happiest and saddest days of my life. My husband and I were married on Nov. 16, 1963. We were on our honeymoon in Bermuda. We started hearing people screaming and crying outside. We went downstairs and heard our president was dead. How soon happiness turned to sadness. We just wanted to go home.
— Rosemary Hoelldobler, Middleburgh
My friend and I had cut school that day and were in a movie theater when suddenly the movie screen went blank and a man came out on the stage and announced that the president had been shot. We all thought it was some kind of sick joke. We couldn’t believe it until after the movie when on the way home we saw a person on the bus reading a newspaper with the headline, “President Shot.” It was truly a sad day in the life of this young teenager.
— Gerard Kalemba,
On Nov. 22, 1963, I was in the same place, doing the same thing that I’m doing today — title searching the real estate records of the Schenectady County Clerk’s office. My friend and co-worker had just returned from lunch and made the announcement that President Kennedy had been shot and may not be alive. I can’t really say what I was thinking at that moment, I was so stunned and overcome with grief to comprehend what was happening, and of course everyone began to cry. I’m still working in the record room and think of that day often.
— Joan Kehoe Plankis,
In November of 1963, I was a sophomore in high school, sitting at my desk in English class. When the announcement came over the PA system that President Kennedy had been shot, I remember the outbursts of screaming and crying from my fellow classmates, some of us not realizing what happened, and some of us just sitting in total shock; all of us praying and sitting quietly awaiting further news.
— Cathy Semczuk, Amsterdam
On that Friday afternoon I was a senior in high school sitting in bookkeeping class when the announcement came over the PA. I was stunned that this could happen in this day, so as I walked home from school I knew what I wanted to do. I sent Mrs. Kennedy a sympathy card. It wasn’t long before I got a card in the mail [from Mrs. Kennedy].
— Carolyn Tyler, Amsterdam
I was having lunch at the Officers’ Club at Forbes AFB, Kansas, in the same time zone as Dallas, when somebody rushed in and said the president had been shot. We all started watching the news on black-and-white TV.
Being in the Air Force we had the impulse to do something, thinking a foreign enemy must be responsible. The military went to a higher state of readiness temporarily, but sadly there was nothing we could do.
Subsequently I visited the assassination site, now The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. It is chilling to stand in the same spot from where the shots were fired.
— James A. Bailey, Schenectady
I was in civics class at Watervliet High School. All of a sudden, the PA system went on. The principal used a hand-held (9-volt) radio put near the microphone to broadcast events in Dallas. The school went silent.
When confirmation of Jack Kennedy’s death was broadcast, our teacher, Mrs. Bevens — who was gripping her pearl necklace — broke it lose from her neck. The pearls went bouncing on the floor, like so many tears.
— Edmond Day, Rotterdam