Dead Kennedy Day

Well, it has been 50 years since that glorious day that saved the Republic from a drugged out madman, (and boinker of foreign spies as well as over rated actresses) and as everyone and their nephew is writing about it I suppose that I should too. So, here goes.

During the 1970s, there was the common pickup line, “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” It was used by folks about ten years old than me who had been in their late teens and early twenties at the time it happened and, now divorced, were looking to get laid and this seemed a good conversation opener. I usually would say if someone asked me, “I was in school.”

I was in high school. Actually I was in gym class, hating every minute of it, when the athletic director came in, called the coach aside and whispered a few words to him, then leaving for a minute. When he left, the coach said, “Kennedy has been shot. They haven’t said anything but they’re asking for a priest so it must be pretty bad.” A few moments later the athletic director returned with a portable radio and we listened to the news until the end of the period. It was the best gym class period I had in four years of high school.

The next class was algebra, and there was no teaching algebra that day. The school was now piping the radio in through the PA system to all the classrooms and it continued until my next class, study hall. That did not last as long as usual as the school administration decided that there was no point in keeping the school open and we were all sent home early.

Now this is the funny part. I actually remember the weather walking home. I lived less than five blocks from the door I went in and out of. It was grey, cloudy. Not cold but sort of yucky, typical November in the Chicago suburbs. The weather plays a role as you will see later.

Of course when I got home mother had the television on and it was obvious that Kennedy had died. I later learned that my grandfather who lived a few blocks away was so happy at the news that he was dancing. My reaction by that time was sort of a non reaction. It took a while for the shock to wear off. After all, Presidents don’t get shot every day. Not that they shouldn’t be, but it just does not happen.

After that the memory sort of fades. It was November and the weather was too yucky, even if it was not cold, to do anything outside. I was 14, that dreadful age back then when you were too old to play and too young to do much of anything else. No video games back then. Hell, no computers, no DVDs or videos, no internet, no cable TV even. You were stuck with a few TV channels and they were all running the Dead President Festival. So I was stuck inside, comforted only by my comic books because there was nothing at all on television except that damned drumming. (For those of you lucky enough to be too young to remember, they moved the body of the President, now former President, from one place to another, seemingly every day, and it took forever. They could not just throw him onto the back of a pickup truck like he were, say, the Governor of Mississippi. They had to dig out an ancient, like pre WWI, artillery carriage from some museum drawn by horses, which must have been fun as we had not had horses in the army for a long time by then, and have it pulled slowly through the streets of Washington accompanied by a lot of uniformed morons especially chosen for their inability to become bored. And they played the same drum cadence over and over, undoubtedly because they were too stupid to know more than one.)

My memory of that weekend is one of boredom, intense, horrible boredom relieved only by my parents on Saturday night when they said to hell with it, turned off the television and put old Benny Goodman records on the hi fi to end up dancing in the living room.

The only good thing was we got the day off of school on Monday, in honor of the planting. But I had a friend over and were having too much fun messing around to worry about the nonsense attendant upon making certain that the President was securely buried with the ceremonial stake through his heart.

Ok, that is the boring stuff. Now for something interesting.

Two days before, my English teacher, Mr. Reisman, in a vain attempt to teach his feral charges creative writing and thus keep them from a life of cannibalism which makes little sense considering how rarely writers eat, (I stole that line from Erin Manning, it ‘s a good one and one should always steal good lines.) had blackened the room, shone a light from the opaque projector onto a blank screen and played music. Our task was to write what we saw.

The day we got back to school, he came into the classroom with the graded papers, visibly shaken. He told us that he did not believe in psychic stuff but out of 30 kids in the class, 28 had written about the death or funeral of the President. I remember mine was a rather vivid description of a televised state funeral, which is interesting because at that time I had never even seen a funeral, much less a state one on television.

So we are then faced with a couple interesting problems. First, was it simple precognition, or, as is sometimes speculated, the precognition is actually causative. Now let us add two other things. The music was the Funeral March from Pier Gynt. So in effect, the class was doing a guided meditation visualizing a funeral. Gets weird, right?

Strange are the ways of things. A connection? Who knows. Still it would be fun to able to tell Mr. Reisman that in his zeal to teach us writing he inadvertently killed the President of the United States.

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2 Responses to “Dead Kennedy Day”

  1. Kittypie070 Says:

    yeah, sounds like a bit of precog to kitty.

    [lays a tasty, partly-eated fishy on Uncle Chuckie’s doorstep]

  2. canada goose rouge Says:

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