I grew up in a small town.
We would walk to school. We would pack a lunch and ride off on our bicycles with the caution from our parents, Be careful and be home for supper. We played outside until dark.
We had a soda fountain in drug store where you could get a Green River or a Cherry Beer ....... and charge it if it was OK with your parents.
There were dogs that everyone knew their name as they wandered from school to the post office to the elevator.
You knew what time it was by whose car was parked in front of the coffee shop.
And we still had telephone operators named Rachel and Phoebe.
Our mothers wore skirts and dresses .... if they had pants on, they were deep cleaning the house.
It was Norman Rockwell and Leave-it-to-Beaver and Little House on the Prairie ....rolled into one.
And on a rainy Friday in November .... we learned there was evil in the world.
I was sitting in Amy Leif's fourth grade class. Mr. Miller, our unit superintendent, walked into the room and spoke quietly to Mrs. Leif. Nothing was said to us but I think we were dismissed from school early.
My Dad picked up my brother, sister and my best friend Nancy from school. Not unusual but not an every day affair.
Dad told us about the assassination of President Kennedy.
I'm not sure if I had ever heard the word assassinate before.
And for the next three days ... we sat in front of the television ... scared and scarred. We watched Mrs. Kennedy stand by Lyndon Johnson in her blood stained pink suit as he took the oath of office. We watched a nation cry as they walked past the casket in the Capitol. We saw Lee Harvey Oswald murdered on live tv. We saw a rider-less horse walk through the streets of Washington. And we cried as small John-John saluted his father's casket as it went by.
That act of a 24 year old lone gunman ... changed a generation.
We were no longer innocent.
We were hurt.
We were harden.
We would ask .... Where were you when you learned the news?
It was almost like asking What is your sign?
It was THE pivotal moment of our lives.
I heard someone ask.... Why are we re-hashing the Kennedy assassination again?
Because 50 years ago, there was a little girl that sat in Amy Leif's fourth grade class and she is still in tears.