Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas: November 22, 1963

Two versions, because neither is complete.  The first recalls the emotional impact of the news.  I would have been about Sally Draper's age that year.  So this captures the first part of the story:

I would rather show the rest without the commentary, but this will have to do:

So this has to be only a reference point.  But this episode of "Mad Men" captured the emotional impact of this day 50 years ago better than anything else I know of. My own memory is simple: I walked in the door from school, ignorant of the world beyond my third-grade concerns. My mother was standing at the ironing board with the black and white TV on (I still remember it was a black and white image) and she was upset. Was she crying? I don't remember clearly, but somehow I think she was. I asked her what was wrong, figuring it had to be something family-related. "The President's been shot," she said. I think she said. I remember she said. I don't know, really.

I've always been amazed at people who could write memoirs and remember exactly what people said 50 years ago.  I can't do it.  But I remember that's how I learned.

I also remember watching live TV when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald in police custody.   Maybe I didn't see that live.  Maybe I just saw it so many times later, I thought I saw it live.  I must have, because it seems now all we did was watch TV, as if watching would explain things to us.  In the "Mad Men" episode I wish I could post for you is the scene where the kids (I was about their age at the time) are watching TV when the impossible happens, and a man is shot to death in police custody in front of TV cameras.

That's when I knew the world was not the place I thought it was.

Some of us have our memories of this; some of us don't.  It really is one of those events you had to experience to understand.  50 years later, I still want to weep like a child when I watch the newscasts, hear the reports again, some of which I never heard originally.

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