Monday, November 18, 2013

Fifty Years After

I had another look at that Subaru commercial I mentioned last week. It turns out that the back of what appears to be a male head is seen a couple of times very briefly. That must be "Dad". What's appealing about this little spot is the mom's unexplained moment of looking lovingly at the early-teen daughter, who doesn't quite know what's going on. But WE know. Cars are being sold.

I saw a football game last week which included a pass receiver named Fakes. I thought that was pretty cool. Then I noticed a new name on the Iowa basketball team roster - Jok. Good luck to both of them, I guess.

In the fall of 1963 I was in the 9th grade at Muscatine (IA) Central Junior High. Part of the building was where my grandmother had attended high school. No parking lot. No athletic fields nearby. Churches on two sides. It's been gone for decades, so all I can do as a tour guide for Old Muscatine is point out what used to be where. It's not the most exciting view of the past, I admit.
But around the noon hour on November 22nd, we got the news over the school PA system that President Kennedy had been shot. I probably didn't quite realize what had occurred, and started to say wildly inappropriate things (a normal tendency for 9th graders) out loud. I'm sure no one remembers what the inappropriate things were.
Not very long after, the news of President Kennedy's death reached us, and things calmed down in a hurry. We were sent home for the rest of the afternoon, probably most of us to our family TV sets to learn more about what had happened. Our set, like most, was black and white.
I have written before about John Kennedy in this space. He was born the same year as my father, though he looked younger. That made him 46 years old at his death, and his wife was just 34. His presidency never had a chance to fully bloom because it never reached the three year mark. Though a Democrat, he was more conservative than today's Party faithful. The Cold War was near its apex, though Vietnam was not yet a name synonymous with death or failure. The cause of Civil Rights was moving forward, mostly via court decisions, but the president's own devotion to the cause was changeable depending on the political winds of the day.
I could drone on about the changes that came about after Kennedy's death, although, truthfully, there were no big changes to our young lives in eastern Iowa. At least not yet.    


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