Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago Today - Bovina and the Kennedy Assassination

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  Most people over the age of five or so remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  I was a third grader at the elementary school at Delaware Academy and recall hearing the news from my teacher, Mrs. Hillis, just as we were getting ready to leave to board the buses at the day's end.  When my sisters and I got home, we found our mom in front of the television - unusual for her for she never had the TV on during the day.  I think she still was absorbing it all, for she shooed us out of the house to play.  Since it was a mild day for November, it didn't take a lot of convincing.  We played outside in our shirtsleeves.

Earlier that day, while I was in school, my mom was doing her weekly grocery shopping in Delhi and paying her bill at Russell's Store with this check made out to Cecil Russell:

Cecil's wife Isabell, who worked alongside him in the store, kept a diary for many years.  Here are her entries for those four days in November when much of America was, in Isabell's own words 'glued' to the television:

  • November 22, 1963 – Another grand day.  I put tulips in.  M[arjorie] went & got eggs this A.M. President Kennedy was shot in Texas where he was in a parade. Was shot by a communist.
  • November 23 – Rainy rainy day. Just poured most of day a little cooler tonight. Real busy at store all day. [The Bovina Fire Department Ladies] Aux[illary] called their supper off tonight on account of President’s death.
  • November 24 – Cloudy and snow flurries this A.M. Good crowd at church.  Snowed quite a bit this afternoon – ground all white. The man who shot the President was shot today in Texas.
  • November 25 – Nice clear day but cold – 20 [degrees] this A.M.  Everybody that had television was glued to them all day [to] see the funeral of Pres. Kennedy. We closed store from 11 o’clock until 2 o’clock.  Vera [Storie], Ruth [probably Parsons] & Margaret Mc [this might be Margaret Russell McPherson] here buying Xmas presents for welfare [this was an annual thing at Russell's where a committee would purchase toys and other items for the needy at Christmas].

Four days in November that had the world and Bovina watching.

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