Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where Were You?

My friend Peter posted this picture on Facebook this morning, and throughout the day, I've remembered November 22, 1963.

I was working in my first job after graduating high school.  It was at what was then The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, in their offices at One Parkway, kitty-corner from the Suburban Station Building in Philadelphia.  I had gone with some coworkers from the steno pool down to the Suburban Station Concourse for a bite of lunch and a bit of shopping.  At that time, the Associated Press office had a glassed-in office in the concourse, with a couple of teletype machines running inside the windows.  People would glance at the teletypes on their way by, getting a first-hand glimpse of the news before it made its way into The Evening Bulletin or the evening news.

We heard someone over by the AP window cry out and went over immediately to find out what was going on.  And there we saw the news of the assassination coming across the teletype machine.  We hurried back to One Parkway, fourth floor steno pool, and shared what we'd learned.  Our supervisor didn't seem to believe us, so we asked her to turn on the radio, which quickly confirmed the news.  We were so sorry to be right . . . .

16 comments:

Quiltdivajulie said...

I was walking home from school -- stopping to drop off homework to another classmate who had been home sick (one who taunted me relentlessly). She kept telling me the President had been shot - and of course, I did NOT believe her. I ran home, only to find my mother crying and watching television (something she never did during the day). Like you, I was so sorry to learn that other girl had been "right" . . .

paula, the quilter said...

I was in 8th grade Algebra when the teacher told us. It did not really sink in until I watched the funeral procession on tv.

Char said...

I was in 4th grade, it was my first year at J.R. Masterman. I don't think I really got it until I arrived home.

Linda said...

I was in high school French class when the Principal came on the intercom system with that terrible announcement.
Years later I was a teacher in that very same school and very same classroom. Each year on Nov. 22nd, I'd sit in a student desk on the very same spot where I had sat that fateful day, and I'd remember the impact that JFK's death had on the country.

KQ Sue said...

I was in 4th grade, came back to school after lunch and we got called to the gym for an assembly. A lot of the girls in my class were crying and one of them got mad at me, because I wasn't. I was to young to feel anything about someone I didn't know opersonally. we didn't have tv as everyone does today.

Anonymous said...

I am Canadian. I was in Grade Eight. I remember every horrible moment,as the day unfolded. The President of the United States shot? The grieving widow in her blood-stained suit beside Lyndon Johnson. Lee Harvey-Oswald shot. The funeral. And I also remember the news stories about the little baby, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who was born prematurely,and did not live. It is surprising how little mention there is in the news today.

pcflamingo said...

I was in 9th grade and the (male) teacher came in and told us to sit down and wait for an announcement on the intercom. He was really quiet and his face was red like he had been crying. He was a coach and kind of a funny goofy guy, so this was really out of character for him. We knew something was seriously wrong.

Julie in the Barn said...

I was in HS geometry class. The principal came in & whispered something to the teacher & she started to cry. He then turned to us and told us the president had been shot. School was dismissed about 20 minutes later and I spent the rest of the day glued to the TV with my family. What a sad, sad time that was.

Suzan said...

I was in the 6th grade and our family was living in Hawaii. I went to a parochial school there. The principal came into the class and spoke quietly with our teacher. She began to cry and then announced to us that the President had been shot. We sat quietly and prayed until the buses came to take us home. I remember watching the funeral services on television. I know it was the first time I saw a riderless horse in a funeral procession...sadly not the last.

Janet O. said...

I was in school and they brought TVs into our rooms (a rare occurrence) and we watched the news reports. The only other time I remember this happening was when we landed on the moon.

quiltmom said...

I was a Canadian kid celebrating her 7th birthday. I remember how quiet it was walking back to school after lunch and the flag hanging at half mast. Someone said that a president had died . I did not understand but I do know that I became fascinated with JFK and his family. Caroline Kennedy and I are pretty close in age- I admire her courage and grace. Her mother would be so proud of her. I also remember Walter Cronkite and how sad he was- It is my first political or large view memory that I have. One wonders what might have been..

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Warmest regards,
Anna

JCnNC said...

I was 22, returning from lunch break and clocking in at Sears when someone told me what happened. My last name was Kennedy (before I married) and we were always interested in what President Kennedy was doing and saying. I was heartbroken. JudyCnNC

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I was in the 5th grade, school had just been dismissed and we were waiting on the sidewalk to board the buses when the teachers told us that President Kennedy had been shot. I remember the confusion that I felt (being 10 years old) and not understanding what that could possibly mean. When I got home my mother (like Julie's) was crying and had the television on... it all began to, sadly, sink in and understanding of such an atrocity started to take hold. I recall the somber broadcasts that followed and seeing the Oswald assassination, still chilling to realize this was the end of innocence associated with an (up 'til then) idyllic childhood.

cityquilter said...

a school chum and i were walking home from 9th grade school through the downtown; passed the appliance store and saw the televisions on in the window....black and white of course.

Pat said...

I was a freshman in college. We had been planning for the big Odds and Evens rivalry between the Freshman/Junior classes and the Sophomore/Senior classes. I was on my way to a meeting at another dorm, and could not find anyone. No one was in the room where we were supposed to meet, the hallways were deserted, and I could not find a soul to ask where everyone went. Finally I went to the dorm lounge, where the lone TV was located, and found it packed with students, all glued to the broadcast. No one believed it at first -- it was so far out of the realm of the possible. There might have been over a hundred girls in that room, but the only sound came from the TV. Then the crying started.

suz said...

I was a sophmore in high school. We were in the ballroom (old school building) practicing for the Christmas contata and had just sung "sleep in heavenly peace" when a senior came in crying to give us the news that Kennedy had been shot. By the time I got to Chemistry class we had the news that he had died. I was in a Catholic High School run by Irish nuns. Needless to say, we were all in deep mourning. I remember my whole family being glued to the TV over the next several days.