Friday, November 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday 204 : Bookmarks In History

Same father, same garage, same house - a few years later.

Friday 22 November 1963 6.45pm
Friday night. My father and my brother were home from work. I was home from school. My mother had made tea (in the working class homes of the north, "tea" was the main meal of the day) and was washing up. My father had retreated into the little workshop he had at the rear of the garage where the family car was kept. He would be sandpapering a bookshelf, sorting his nails out, or greasing his hacksaws, or whatever he did in there. I am not sure where my brother had gone to : he would have been twenty, so the chances are he was already on his way to a night out. I was watching television. The news had finished and the regional current affairs programme was on. They interrupted the programme to make the announcement. Reports were coming in that US President John F Kennedy had been shot and killed. I remember going out of the door and into the garage to tell my father. I don't suppose either of us knew what it might mean. Neither of us realised that an indelible bookmark had been affixed to the story of our lives. Even 50 years into the long, unknown future I would be able to remember where I was at that precise moment.


Sepia Saturday 204 celebrates those momentous moments, the moments when big history and small history collide. See how others have interpreted the theme by going to the Sepia Saturday Blog and following the links.

21 comments:

  1. Isn't that strange, even as young kids we remember that day.
    I was riding in a funeral procession for an uncle when we heard the news.
    I was eight at the time.
    I wish I know how it effected my family, but with the death of my uncle, their minds may have been elsewhere.

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  2. I sure know the feeling, even as a young little girl, I had no idea how this would all play out. Just like the rest of us, all over the world. My family was a divided one too, some liked President Kennedy and then there were those that did not. For me, and all that I knew about them, they were (especially, adorable, little John boy) a beautiful group of people that were often in the news. As for your photo, I do like that quaint little building behind the car. Is that where your daddy would go to? I can see why!

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  3. I was too young to notice. We were living in Edinburgh then, my father was working at the Castle, and I hardly remember anything at all about that time. We didn't have a television and I'm not even sure we had a radio as I remember my parents taking a big decision to buy one from the NAAFI a couple of years later. (The radio was so expensive they had to buy it on HP.) Oddly I don't remember knowing anything about it until I was much much older.

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  4. I was 20, leaving a classroom for an unusually warm and bright November day. Someone shouted the news. The person next to me said "Good!" I stared in disbelief at him then hurried away.
    In retrospect, fifty years on, that "age of innocence" was our own delusion; justice and decency remain a work in progress. We hope.

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  5. Coming to the end of my first year as an apprentice in the RAF, Friday night was 'bull' night, so we were polishing the lino floor of the barrack room for a room inspection on the Saturday moring - funny what you remember. Oh yes, and Kennedy was shot.

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  6. My wife says she was feeding our younger son when she heard the news. I have no idea where I was or what I was doing so the moment passed me by.

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  7. I was pretty young, and enjoying an idyllic Aussie country childhood. I think many of us probably never thought it would touch us here.

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  8. I was 13 and sitting in a class with a bunch of 8th graders. It was hard to even comprehend when we lived in such innocent of times. I saw live the shooting of Oswell. It was the same feeling as watching an American passenger plane plow into one of the buildings in New York and watching it live.

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  9. It's a rare person who will not remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of Kenedy's death.

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  10. The audacity of such murders, and we've seen too many more, is that they leave an indelible mark in memory and in history. From that horrid moment, every thing changes, and all that might have been vanishes in a flash.

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  11. I remember it well, Alan. What I hadn't remembered, was that the first episode of Dr Who was broadcast the very next day!

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  12. I was in front of a class room of 12th grade English students. I was an intern teacher and was being observed by the 'real' teacher. When the news came over the intercom, my first reaction was to wonder what I should do. I think I tried to carry on for a bit and then the 'real' teacher stood up and rather angrily told the class they should pray.
    .

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  13. Once again, your memory fails you dear boy. Your brother was not off on a night out. He was in the garage fixing his Claud Butler sort-wheelbase tandem. I remember it well!

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  14. Just found your blog and think I'm going to like it! - following as A Bit About Britain. I remember seeing the news when - or shortly after - Kennedy was shot; my parents were very upset. The overwhelming view is, surely, one of of profound sadness. yet a friend suggested another view - that he unfortunately died at the right time, before he was found out; it's an alternative opinion.

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  15. I'm sure I would remember the event, but I'm not sure I would remember the date if November 22 wasn't also my birthday.

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  16. You appear to have a spammer again, Alan.

    Apart from that what memories you must have of that car and garage.

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  17. Love the shed. Even then a man must have a shed. It is definitely a bookmark in history. I was going to breakfast in the Lae Hotel on my first day in Papua/New Guinea which lasted 7 years.

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  18. Here in the USA, I was seven years old at the time. I was walking home from where the school bus dropped us off and heard two of the older kids talking about where "he" was and what "he" was doing. It wasn't until I walked through the side door of the house that I learned who "he" was. (My mother told me.) I spent the next few days watching television. News about JFK, Oswald, the funeral, etc. was all the stations seemed to play. No kiddie shows, no cartoons, which bothered me. Odd what kind of priorities we have at that age. Or, maybe not so odd.

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  19. It is interesting reading how the assassination was felt around the world. I must admit, I rarely give much thought to the murder of other world leaders. Princess Diana's death drew me in, but I couldn't tell you the date.

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  21. Some people who are killed seem to affect me more than others.

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