I Was Ten

Today, I’m participating in a Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, and I chose this prompt:

1.) How old were you? Share one of the first news stories you remember caring

I was ten years old and in the fifth grade.


Out on the playground, at afternoon recess, a classmate told me that President Kennedy had just been killed. I don’t remember how she heard this news while we were at school. (We were rather isolated at school in those days, with just one phone in the office.)

As a ten-year old, I just couldn’t grasp the severity of the situation. Oh, I knew it was bad, but there was so much I didn’t understand. And I’m sure most adults felt that way too.

In the next few days, I would hear, for the first time, the word “Rotunda”, when it was announced that President Kennedy’s body would lie in state there.

My mother would notice how many times Walter Cronkite mindlessly took his glasses off and immediately put them back on as he was reading the latest news reports. And we watched him fight back tears as he confirmed President Kennedy’s death, then quickly regain his composure.

We would watch photos of the President and Mrs. Kennedy as they were shown over and over again.

Although there would be many tears in the days to come, the first time I recall crying that week was when I saw a picture on tv of Jackie Kennedy’s long stemmed red roses lying in a heap on the floor of the limo.

As the shots were fired, Jackie turned to look at JFK, and in the process the
red roses began to slide to the floor.” Quote from JFK Assassination Presidential Limousine SS100X.

jackies roses

Internet photo

In the days to come, we would watch as, on live tv, three-year old John-John Kennedy saluted his dad’s coffin, as Mrs. Kennedy kissed the coffin. And as Lee Harvey Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby.

As a ten-year old, I had no idea that I was watching so many historic events take place in those few short days.

Linking up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It

20 responses to “I Was Ten

  1. First of all – that’s a sweet photo of you……secondly I think we all remember that day and how we heard about it as well as all the “after” events. I’ll not forget little John-John’s salute either. In fact I thought about that moment again when I heard about his own death some years later. Tragedies stick with us just as our brighter moments do. Great blog today Dianna!


  2. That was definitely a hard time for all of us….I’m sure my boys don’t remember it at all since they were several years younger than you. But since it happened on John’s birthday, he would remember it just from hearing the date on later newscasts.
    Seems that even when we’re children the tragic events stay in our memory..probably longer than the wonderful things.

  3. I was an infant that year so I can’t remember it but those memories are some of my first — must have been the TV footage on the 1 year anniversary & such that I can recall. Such a tragic day for all.


  4. I was 13 in science class, the last class of the day on a Friday. It was Mrs. Hays day to pick up the carpool and she was there to pick us up. We asked if it was true. We just couldn’t believe it happened 100 miles west of our small town. We all read the Dallas Morning News in the days to come. My mother still has those newspapers. You’re right Dianna, we learned a lot of words, learned a lot of names and witnessed a state funeral. Very sad time.

  5. I was 12 and we were out on the playground too. The nuns came out to bring us all in and my little catholic grade school was let out for the day and both my parents came and picked me up. I was riveted to the TV and I clipped out articles from the paper and made a scrapbook.

  6. I was 10 when all this took place and also remember hearing about it in school. What sticks out for me is when Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated on live TV. My family was all gathered watching the endless coverage, and Oswald was being led out of the jail. I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention. Suddenly my father leapt off the couch and yelled “They shot the b*%$#*d!” Of course it was replayed over and over, and it was the first time I had ever seen violence like that. Nowadays we see all kinds of live and contrived TV killing, but at that time it was shocking and it made a huge impression on me. That, and the endless sound of the muffled drums as the funeral procession made its way to Arlington. It took hours, and I will never forget the sound of those drums.

  7. You were a beautiful child Dianna, and this post is so interesting because it is from your innocent memories. I was older. I was resting at a drugstore counter when the news came on a TV up on the wall. I still remember the stunning incredulous feeling. And then I joined the sadness along with the rest of country.

  8. I wrote about this, too, and it is interesting to see that we remembered a lot of the same things.

    I think that event was a defining moment for our country…

  9. I was 12. I have never quite recovered. I would like to go to Dallas this year on the 50th anniversary and just stand at the grassy knoll. I have heard that Dallas is trying to prevent this kind of gathering, and are planning a private ceremony, with the public not allowed. I cannot understand why letting all of us still-grieving people attend and pay a silent tribute would hurt anyone in any way.

  10. Wow. Sad times. I got to visit the museum and walk on the grassy knoll in high school. It gave me chills and poked a lot of holes in the believed story? Great post!

  11. That was a day so many of us will never forget. I was young and in grade school too, and we all burst into tears when our principal came into the classroom to tell us the news. Hubby & I visited that site in Dallas when we were a young married couple and it brought back all the scary and sad thoughts of my younger, innocent self from that day.

  12. On a happier note, I almost forgot to tell you, I nominated you for the Best Moment Award in my blog today! http://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/a-moment-in-time/

  13. a family that endured so much tragedy in front of our eyes for years to come.

  14. Very well written ..
    I’ve watched the well-known films of the events of that day; youtube has them all, and once in awhile one will appear on tv. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to witness this.

  15. Sad day but great post. Loved the picture of you.

  16. JFK was my first news memory, though not so much any actual news. I remember a palpable sense of sadness that seemed to fall like a veil over the whole nation.

  17. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    Dianna, I to was on the playground in Dendron when I heard the news. I remember very well feeling sad and very down. not really knowing why completely. I am sure we discussed it in school but I don’t remember that.
    It was a very uneasy time for our country.

  18. Pingback: Eureka, Sort Of | notquiteold

  19. Love the picture of you! I was in third grade. The sixth grade had a tv in the classroom for current events. A student came to each class to share the news with the teachers. Yes, we learned many things in the days to follow, things we knew not of.

  20. Pingback: Random Five Friday | these days of mine

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