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November 22

No one born in the 50s or earlier can forget this date. It was also a Friday, that day in 1963. I was in 6th grade. I came back from lunch & some of the girls in my class ran up to me & said the president had been shot. It was only when they told Mrs. Wootten, that day's playground monitor, that I believed them—I knew they wouldn't make a joke to her. Not that it was anything to joke about but kid confusion sends our minds wherever. They let us out early & I remember flying home down Summit Avenue in fear: What would happen? 


The worst thing in the world is often never the worst. Or not as bad as it seems at the time. 


I've probably written about this before but my mother heard on the radio while she was driving. When her hands flew up in shock, she almost hit someone, who gave her a dirty look. I know that other woman's story about that day always included my anonymous mother.

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I knew that if the girls told Mrs. Wooten, that day's playground monitor, it had to be true.

I ran home ducking my head, waiting for the sky to fall.

Would my mother's best friend have killed herself if it had happened a day earlier?

In the Midwest, we liked how he talked: his vigah.

My mother almost crashed into another car when her hands flew off the steering wheel at hearing the news. The other driver gave her a dirty look but at some point that day understood. I imagine it was part of that woman's story of the day for the rest of her life. It's part of Annie's story, now. How often we are bit players.  Read More 
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Half a century ago

Me, I was in grade school. When I came back from lunch, some girls told the strict teacher who had playground duty, and I knew it had to be true: No one would tell Mrs. Wootten a lie.

My mother was running errands, heard on the car radio, & threw up her hands in shock—almost crashing into another car, whose driver gave her a dirty look. What I love is my mother as an anonymous player in someone else's story. If she's still alive, that woman is telling the story yet again today.  Read More 
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