SHHS Alumni Compile Memory Log of JFK Assassination

SHHS Alumni Compile Memory Log of JFK Assassination
Posted on 11/18/2013
960The South Houston High School Alumni Association has compiled a memory log based on recollections of the assassination of President Kennedy, 50 years ago this week. 

The log, at present, contains entries from 62 alumni who graduated from South Houston in classes ranging from 1959 (the school's first graduating class) to 1980. The list will be extended as additional entries are submitted this week.

The final log will be printed and presented to the school as a reference tool for history students.

Several contributors to the log had graduated at the time of Kennedy's death, but most were in school. Those alumni recall such things as principals' announcements, distraught students and teachers, and early dismissals.
Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, one day after visiting Houston.

Several contributors recall going with their parents to see the president on his motorcade trip from Hobby Airport to a downtown speaking engagement.

Portions of the log are presented here. 

GRADS 1959-1964

BOB FAY / Class of 1959

We should remember these tragedies and, hopefully, learn from them. Above all, we should learn that life itself is precious, but fleeting. I was at the University of Texas on a Navy scholarship when Kennedy was shot. I had walked into the Student Placement Office to try and find a part time job. A girl was crying and I asked her what was wrong. She told me what had happened, and my first thought was, "Oh, no. Not here in Texas!" The girl and I held each other for a moment and tried to comfort one another. (I never saw her again.) I quickly ran to the ROTC office ready to go to war with whichever commie country was responsible for this! Hard to believe it was just one crazy [person] who affected an entire nation. 

STAN R. WYLIE / Class of 1960

I was a senior at Texas A&M. Bonfire was cancelled. I came home for Thanksgiving holidays. My next memory is fuzzy, and maybe someone can confirm or refute. There was a SoHo football game, but the band did not play. I did go back to A&M on Friday after Thanksgiving for a flight lesson. There was no one in the dorms. It was eerie. 


Ii was driving back to work from lunch when they announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. It was the first real violence I had seen and it made me afraid. That was the beginning of our loss of innocence. 

MICHELLE GUARINO / Class of 1964

I was in the school cafeteria. Several moments passed before we all were quiet enough to hear the announcement. Shortly after the noon hour we were directed to our fifth-period class (mine was in Ms. Pauline Williams’ drama class). All students were asked to ponder over what had happened. We spoke about it, but dealt with the tragedy individually. No one came forward to help us humanize the event (not like today). There were no counselors. We were scared and uncertain of our future. 

LYNN B. LUCAS / Class of 1964

I was in Mr. Ainsworth’s Consumer Math class. A girl from another classroom went running down the hall. Mr. Ainsworth told me to go check on her. She was in the bathroom hitting her head on the wall and screaming. I went and got the nurse and went back to class. I was in shock, and then I was so worried about that girl, someone I didn't know, because I had never seen anyone that upset in my 17 years. 

LINDA SCATES / Class of 1964

I think about it every 11/22. I was a senior that year,  Mrs. McCafferty's fourth-period English class. This one event determined my political leanings for the rest of my life. 

GRADS 1965-1970

EMORY GADD / Class of 1965

I was sitting at a table in the South Houston High School cafeteria eating what I thought as a high school kid was a pretty good-tasting hamburger. Even in the midst of today's selections, a desire to eat one more comes over me. Sorta like Jack in the Box tacos. On that day, as the announcement was made, I took the remains of that costly hamburger and threw it in the garbage. And I left the cafeteria not saying a word and walked -- I don't remember where. But I do remember where I was on that day and I will never forget that moment. 


I was at home sick, waiting for my mother to come home from work to take me to the doctor. They broke in on "Days of Our Lives" with the news that he had been shot. Before mother got home they said that he died from his wounds. I sat in my father's recliner and cried until mother got home. She was crying when she came in the door. I guess she cancelled my appointment because we didn't make it to the doctor's office. It was a sad and scary time. It was not unlike the feelings I experienced on, and for days after, 9/11. 

PAM WALLACE JONES / Class of 1965

I was in my junior year. I was on my way to lunch when Mr. Cecil Ghormley stopped me in the hall and told me what had happened. Then the principal came over the loud speaker and told us what had happened and people all around me were crying. It was the saddest thing that had ever happened in the 60's. Unfortunately, more sad events and assassinations were to follow in the coming years. 


I was 15 and a sophomore at SHHS. We all lost our innocence, especially because this was at the beginning of the increasing war in Vietnam. 

BEVERLY DEBORDE / Class of 1966

I was living in California with my grandmother for a year. It was the 10th grade. It amazed me that all the kids wanted to know was what did Dallas look like and would not believe me when I told them that Houston was 400 miles from Dallas. I could not believe they were more concerned about that than the fact that our president was dead. I spent days watching a small black and white TV with no tears, just disbelief -- until John-John saluted as the caisson when by. Then I just lost it. 


I was in Ina McDaniel’s English class when the news came over the PA system. I remember feeling, oddly, empty. During the so-called Camelot years of the Kennedy presidency we had been through the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban missile crisis. Fresh in my mind and emotions was the memory of the threat of imminent annihilation. In Houston, we were within mere minutes of a nuclear missile launched from Cuba. So, on that November day in 1963, the death of the president was a shock but also a sort of perverse affirmation (summed up two years later in Barry McGuire’s growling recitation of the lyrics of “Eve of Destruction.” Isn’t it odd how often we express our memories in terms of the music of the day? 


A birthday I will never forget. I turned 16 on 11/21/63. Our family went to Park Place and the Gulf Freeway to see President John F. Kennedy in his motorcade from Ellington to downtown. We were excited and blessed to be there. The next day I was in the lunch line at South Houston High School when the announcement was made the President had been shot. Shortly after another announcement -- President John F. Kennedy had died, assassinated in Dallas. There was stunned silence followed by loud sobbing and crying, followed by the group saying the Lord's Prayer. We cried and prayed. I had an excuse to get out of school to take my drivers test. Mom picked me up in tears, but we decided to go ahead with the test. The officer had tears in his eyes. He could hardly talk and he passed me even though I made so many mistakes and could not parallel park. He was so upset. A sad moment in time. 


I just don't remember what class I was in. It seems like it was heath in the auditorium. Mr. Gorsuch, the band director, came through and told us he had been shot. Then next period was typing and they announced he had died. I think that is the right order. 


I was in the same ninth-grade class as Candy Jones (SHHS, Class of 1967). It was Mrs. Gandy's geography class, and as soon as the principal announced JFK had been shot, you could hear a pin drop. Then someone said, "Oh, no! If he dies, Johnson will be president." Everyone but me and a few others started talking real low. Mrs. Gandy removed her glasses and held the top of her nose with her eyes closed and head bent down. I was in shock. I think, when the principal announced he had died. All the girls and Mrs. Grandy started crying, but I was totally dumbstruck. I couldn't even talk. Not long after, we all went home. I adored JFK and Jackie like most people did, the dream of Camelot, the class and style of both of them. I didn't know politics. All I remembered of his politics was when he put the USSR in their place during the missile crisis. When he came on TV that night and began talking, I took one look at my parents and immediately felt fear like I had never experienced it before. 


I was in a science lab – I don't remember the teacher -- but one of my classmates dropped a glass tube that shattered and it sounded like a cannon. I remember feeling shocked and in disbelief. And then in the way we all have of hurting those close to us. My boyfriend at the time pointed at me and said, "She's glad he's dead!" Of course, being all of ninth-graders, we had espoused the political views of our parents during the election and mine did not vote for JFK. I think in my adolescent-girl world, the remark by my boyfriend initially affected me more than the assassination. I do remember never feeling quite as safe in my word again after that day. 

DIANNE K. THOMAS / Class of 1967

I was in ninth grade, the last year for ninth grade at South Houston Junior High. I don't remember where I was, but I remember feeling numb and in disbelief that someone could be so evil to do this to our president. No, JFK was not my parents' choice, but he was our president! To top the shock -- this occurred in Dallas, TEXAS! That was just the beginning of an unsettled future! 

DEBBIE BRIDGES / Class of 1968

I was in the eighth grade, in science class at Queens Intermediate, when an administrator came into the room and told us of the shooting. I was on the school newspaper staff, and asked to write the story. I can't believe I didn't keep a copy of that paper. I remember that I opened with, "Shock and disbelief swept the nation..." (I wasn't a very good writer). There was a TV show a few years back called “American Dreams,” produced by Dick Clark. The opening episode of season No. 1 shows exactly how families going about their day learned and grappled emotionally  -- apart from each other (kids in school, parents at jobs and such) -- of the no-sense-making event. Walter Cronkite's tears that evening scared us all to death. 

SANDY McBRIDE ROME / Class of 1968

I went to Europe after graduation -- London, Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam, When they found out I was from the U.S., everyone asked the same questions. How was President Kennedy killed? 

GIGI MOUNGER / Class of 1968

I was at SoHo Junior High sitting in English class right after lunch, and the PA came on and said that President Kennedy had been shot. It wasn't until we got home that we heard he died. Shock and disbelief. Very sad day. 


I was in gym at South Houston Junior High. It seemed we were there for hours. I don’t remember any other classes that day. I guess we had early dismissal. I remember Dad was out of town, before mobile phones. My mom worked and together we watched the first 24-hour news coverage. There was no school on Monday, a national day of mourning. I was in awe of Jacqueline Kennedy's courage, dignity and presence. Then, and until she died, she was a personal role model for me. 


I was at South Houston Junior High in Mr. Montgomery's history class. He had to leave the room for a moment. We all sat in shock! 

LIBBY JOHNSON / Class of 1968

I was in eighth grade at Cullen Junior High in history Class. I had just returned from a history field trip that morning. We were at the Rice Hotel in Houston where the Kennedy's had stayed and were part of the young youths of tomorrow group sending them off to Dallas. Our principal came over the loudspeaker and told the school, and the news was piped into the intercom system. I was in shock. I had just seen him and Mrs. Kennedy. They had waved and smiled at us, not five feet from me. Our teacher then did something I will never forget. She said, “Let us now say a prayer.” Unfortunately, that would not be spoken today. The principal then said school was being dismissed. I cried all the way to Foster Elementary, where I retrieved my siblings, who had no clue of the events happening and why I was so upset. I will never forget that day! 

JOHN MARK WHITE / Former SHHS faculty

I was 13. We had just returned from the funeral of my paternal grandmother and there were no tears left for our President Kennedy. Over the next few days there was the feeling that our nation was to be altered in many ways. By the end of the decade there had been a great transformation. 


I was in Mrs. Magnesse’s seventh-grade reading class at South Houston Junior High. When we got home my daddy was already home from work. I'm not sure if the TV even got turned off for days. It was the first time I ever remember seeing my daddy cry. I wish I had talked with him about the assassination and what he thought the truth might have been, but I guess it never crossed my mind and now he is gone. 

GREG BARBOUR / Class of 1969

I was in seventh grade at South Houston Junior High in PE. We were sitting in the gym at our places for roll. Someone said, "Kennedy got shot!" I looked around, pointed to Randy Kennedy and said, "No, he's not! He's right there." My next class was Mr. Beeson's reading and spelling class. I walked in and the first thing I saw was Susan Tippit sitting at her desk silently crying, as were all the other girls. Then an announcement came over the PA that President Kennedy was assassinated. 

DENISE HEWITT LONG / Class of 1969

I was in Mrs. Kerbow's English class at Queens Intermediate. The announcement came over the PA system twice, once that he had been shot, and the second announcement was that he had passed. We all just sat there in stunned silence - I can't remember reactions, just a heavy silence. I don't remember much reaction at home either, just the constant re-runs of the news reports, and the weeks after, seeing and hearing about the changes our country was going through because of it. Yes, sir, it WAS a sad, sad day in our country's history. 


I was in PE class at SoHo Intermediate. The president of our country seemed like family to me. I cried. That was the first person that I "knew" who was shot and killed. As I remember, that was my first experience with violence. I wish that my innocence as a child was still present in our country today. 

MARY MAHER / Class of 1969

I was in seventh-grade math class when the PA announcement came on. I can't remember if it was just the shooting or the death. Mr. Vernon Wallace was the teacher and was always a kind and calming moderator for our juvenile political discussions. (I’m not sure how this came up in math. It may just have been the personalities in the group). I'm struck by everyone's memories of watching the same news non-stop for the weekend. Compare it to today's media where you can choose what version of reality you want to see. I don't think we're better off for the change. 

MARLESS OWEN / Class of 1969

I was in seventh- grade Texas History at SoHo Junior High. My teacher was so upset that he cried. 


I was in Mr. Groover's eighth-grade English class at South Houston Intermediate when they made the announcement. I remember one girl saying that she was glad he was dead. Someone else said that will be what our age group will always remember -- where we were, like our parents and our kids with their respective tragedies. 


I was in Coach Davis’s history class at Queens Intermediate. He walked out of the room and rushed back in real fast and told us what happened before it was announced . He turned on a radio so we could listen to the news. 

LARRY ABLES / Class of 1970

I was in Queens Intermediate. I don't remember anyone coming over the loudspeaker with an announcement, but I remember our teachers huddling together. They were trying to figure the best way to tell us. Finally, they did and, of course, we were in shock. My oldest brother came and picked me up from school – he never did that -- and I remember getting in the car and looking at him and saying, “Is it true?” "Yes." he said. "The President is dead." We rode in silence the rest of the way home. My mother and I had gone to Hobby Airport the day before. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all standing behind a chain-link fence and Air Force One rolled up on the tarmac. The door opened and the President stepped into the doorway, followed by Mrs. Kennedy. The crowd was going crazy, and my Mother was caught up in the frenzy. The Kennedys passed right in front of us, and my Mother tried her best to get her little hand through the crowd just for one brief touch. Alas, Mom missed them and later she told me that she would never have washed that hand again had he touched it. I had never heard that term before then. We went home and all was right with the world. For about 18 hours. Then the horror started and for four days we were glued to those black and white (yet with uncanny clarity) pictures coming from Washington. I recall no cartoons on Saturday for the first time in my life. Then on Sunday afternoon, we watched Oswald get killed. Mom started crying and I thought, “Why are you crying? Isn't this what this guy deserved?” She told me that now we will never know what happened and why. My Mom was a wise woman. The older I become, the more sure I am in the fact that Oswald acted alone. I just don't think everyone would have kept quiet for 50 years. I think about the event every Nov. 22. I have schooled my children about it, and sometimes I'm amazed when their friends know nothing about it. 

KAREN ALLEN ALWELL / Class of 1970

I was 11 years old. I came home from school and my mom and dad were home from work. My mom was crying. They both looked frightened. My mom told me that the president had been shot and was dead. My mom was crying so hard, and I wasn’t sure why, so I ask her, "Mom, did you know the president?” I remember my mom and dad watching the funeral and still crying. I felt like the president was part of our family -- and I didn’t know it. Sad time. 

AL CARTER / Class of 1970

I was in the sixth grade at Almeda Elementary, located out Almeda Road, just about where it now intersects with Beltway 8. I was sitting in the cafeteria, eating with classmates that Friday and thinking that things seemed strange somehow. Someone at our table whispered that some girl in another class had gone to the office to call her mom and her mom told her that Jackie Kennedy had been shot. It seemed like things got real quiet. Teachers started to drop from sight. Then, as we got up to leave, someone said it was the president who had been shot and that he might be dead. I wanted to hear someone say that, no, it wasn’t that bad. Just a close call. But no one did. I somehow felt tied to whatever was going on – the first signs of a reporter’s instincts? Who knows? I’ve never enjoyed being left in the dark. My dad had been a captain in the Air Force, and I kept up with a lot of current events. I had watched JFK on TV the night before during an appearance downtown for Rep. Albert Thomas. Anyway, we got back to class -- and I remember it was the day we always distributed the Weekly Reader. Our always cheerful teacher, Mrs. Dortsch, seemed very subdued. We passed out our Weekly Readers and she told us to read them quietly. But everyone was starting to figure out that the worst had happened, despite not having heard a word from the principal or anyone else. Germany's Ludwig Erhard was on the Weekly Reader cover and it talked about how he was going to spend the weekend with JFK at the LBJ’s ranch. I remember thinking, "Oh, no, he's not." And then we were told that our buses were on the way and that we were going to go home early, but there was still no announcement about JFK or why the school day was being cut short. So we packed up and went outside to the bus drive and there was a lot of confusion. Kids not knowing what bus to board. Buses not there. Teachers trying hard not to cry. Some breaking down. I was a bus monitor, so I got on the bus I thought was the right one and tried to take charge. We drove all over, dropping kids off wherever they’d tell us to drop them off. And then I was the last one, and I told the driver where I lived and he took me home. I walked down the long shell drive to my house and knew it was going to be bad. I just knew. My mother was sobbing uncontrollably as I came in from the sun room and put down my books. "Someone shot the president," she said. Everyone knows what the rest of the weekend was like. That day faded into the scariest black night I can remember. Saturday wasn’t much better. Sunday, I retreated to the acreage behind our house and started hammering together a dugout bench for the sandlot ball field I was trying to build. My mom came out and said, “Somebody just shot Oswald.” She thought I would want to know. But I just did not care. Back at school, me and a couple of classmates were also flag monitors. So we quickly learned how to raise the flag and lower it back down to half-staff. And we did that every day for the next month. By that time, just as Christmas was upon us, kid chatter had turned to a new rock ‘n’ roll band from England. They had hair like girls and all the older kids were buying their records. And before the winter was out, the four mop-tops had landed in America and had American kids smiling again. There’s a long list of reasons why I love the Beatles and always will. But what they did to chase the clouds away in that god-awful winter of 1963-64 may just top the list. 

BOBBY HORTON LUTZ / Class of 1970

I was in Mrs. Christian's sixth-grade class at Pearl Hall, getting ready to go out for recess when the announcement came over the loud speaker. My Mama and Daddy had taken me out to Hobby to see his motorcade go by the day before. I was pretty excited to be on the front row and only a few feet from Pres. and Mrs. Kennedy. They looked very happy! 

GLENN HOWARD / Dobie HS / Class of 1970

I was 12 and at Garfield Elementary. All the kids on my block were shocked., Mrs. Styron rounded all us boys up and dropped us off at the movies on Saturday. JFK had really connected with young people in 1963. 

WESLEY MONTEITH / Class of 1970

I was in my sixth-grade class at SoHo Elementary. Mr. Vickers was in tears as he said, “The president has been shot.” 


I was in my sixth grade class. One of the boys from my class was out in the hall and heard teachers talking about the President being shot. He came into the class and told us all what he had heard. He was kind of the class clown and no one, including the teacher, believed him. I think someone from the office must have come to tell our teacher later, but for many minutes a little boy had told the truth and the truth was so terrible no one was willing to believe him. I remember that and being glued to the TV as the drama unfolded. In those days kids didn't watch that much TV. Kitirik in the afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons and Disney on Sunday night, but never for hours on end. I remember it all 50 years later and I am sure I will until the day I die. 

GWEN WATSON / Class of 1970

I was at Queens Intermediate. I was 11 ½. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was walking down the hall to Ms. Valdez’s Spanish Class when our principal came on the loud speaker. All you could hear was a loud gasp and the words… “what?” And then, “oooo nooo!!!” And then weeping. Our family was glued to the TV for days, and the day of his funeral was incredibly sad. Life changed forever that day. 

TERRY WHITE / Class of 1970

I was at Queens Intermediate. I remember being confused about what I was hearing, but then I went into a class room where they had a TV and a teacher was trying to explain and calm us. It's a day I'll never forget. The date was never important to me but the experience was. It was both sad and terrifying to me. I'll tell my grandchildren that I never thought this man got justice and how some things were kept secret. The men who serve as our president are just men. Some are loved, some not so much.  

GRADES 1971-1980


My memory of those days has become a series of snapshot moments, but very clear and very vivid. Fifth grade, L.F. Smith Elementary -- we were sitting in the cafeteria at the end of lunch. A boy with a transistor radio came rushing up and said, "Kennedy's been shot in the head!" It made me mad at that moment, I think, because of the way he said it, and I was hoping it wasn't true. But he had the radio. While walking back to our classroom I remember thinking, "I hope he's alright." Once we were back in class, we began lining up to go to music. That's when the principal came over the loud speaker and said "Boy and girls, our President is dead." She said more, but I don't remember what. What I do remember was the look on everyone's faces. Everyone looked exactly the same. I can't remember what happened next. Next thing I remember was walking into the kitchen. My sister was stirring something in a pot on the stove and crying. When Daddy got home, we all got in the car and drove out to my grandparents’. I remember that as the sun was going down, the sky was really red -- deep red. While I was looking at that, my mom made a comment about it. The only thing I remember about being at my grandparents’ house was sitting on their back porch looking at the sky. After that, my memory is filled with those incredibly hard to believe images on the TV. I watched every minute of it, and kept telling myself, "This is really happening.” I remember looking at beautiful Jackie and thinking how very brave she was, and perfect... even now. And that moment when she bent down, whispered something to little John and that tiny little boy stepped forward to salute his father, well, we all just lost it. I still lose it when I see that image. And, yes, nothing was the same after that. It was a moment when we all learned that there are some really ugly things in this world. Maybe we already knew that, but now it was real. 

NOLA BOONE / Class of 1971

I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade at Kate Schenck Elementary in San Antonio. We had just returned home to San Antonio at few months earlier from 42 months in Germany. My dad was stationed at Ft. Sam. I had just gone the day before with our neighbors to see President Kennedy at Lackland. It was after recess and our teacher Ms. Jackson made the announcement and everyone started crying. We were dismissed from school. I remember spending the next few days glued to the TV watching every moment unfold and being replayed over and over again. It is the first historical moment in time that I actually remember. 

RHONDA GOODMAN / Class of 1971

I was in Mrs. Zeldajean Byrd's fifth grade class at South Houston Elementary sitting beside Tommy Bickerstaff. Mrs. Byrd left the room briefly, came back in and told us to pray for the president and our governor who had just been shot in Dallas. About an hour later, she left the room again. But this time she came back crying, and told us the president was dead. When Daddy came home that night, he put his head in his hands with his elbows on the bar where we ate, and cried. That was the first time I ever saw him cry. The second time was when the Olympic athletes were killed in Munich. Seeing him cry made quite an impression on me. I collected every newspaper for days and kept all those clippings for years. I think I threw them out when I left home many years later. Wish I had kept them. I remember my parents being so embarrassed that this occurred in our beloved state of Texas. Our parents had Pearl Harbor as a defining moment in their childhoods, we had the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War, and our kids had 9/11. 


I was in the fifth grade, Mrs. Wolfe's class, at Freeman Elementary when it was announced over the loud speaker. When I got home I remember my mother and daddy both in front of the TV crying. About 15 years ago, I went to Dealey Plaza with a friend. As I wrote in a book that was there, I cried like a baby. I wrote: "I still wonder to this day what if.” Today, I still wonder what if? 


I was in fifth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Jones, was called into the hallway, came back in the classroom in tears and shared the sad news with us. I just started bawling since I really liked President Kennedy. It was a very sad day. 

LYNNE MENARD COMA / Class of 1971

I believe I was in the fifth grade when my teacher told us what had happened. She was crying, so I knew it was really bad. When I got home, we stayed glued to the TV. "This couldn't have happened,” I thought. “Not here in the USA, on TV, our dear president!!” But it became so real and devastating! We sadly watched the funeral on TV. Then the killing of Oswald, right on TV! Then the killing of Robert Kennedy! WHAT'S GOING ON????? This changed our society and we will never be so innocent again. I think we all grew up that day. 

LARRY BRIDGES / Class of 1972

I was in the fourth grade at Williams Elementary, Ms. Thayer. What I remember the most was watching Ruby shooting Oswald inside the police station. 


I was in fourth grade at AB Freeman Elementary in Freeway Manor. I remember my teacher crying and then I remember it came across the PA system. I was so young. but I remember the horrible feeling. The emptiness, the uncertainty. I can't remember it but I think they let us go early. I remember my Mom crying when I got home. Sitting and watching the TV. My Dad -- I can't remember -- but I know things weren't the same anymore. It seems like a long time ago, but as I'm writing this, it's all coming back to me now. It was scary and sad but you know, 9-11 was worse. God bless the Kennedy's. I'll never forget. NEVER! 

MARSHA LEE BERGER / Class of 1973

I was in third grade. Life was wonderful! Couldn't be better. Until my teacher walks in crying and announces what has happened. This lady was crazy, I thought. I just saw President Kennedy the day before at Hobby Airport, so she didn't know what she was talking about. But all of a sudden the world just stops and everyone is moving in slow motion. No cartoons on for days. People crying, everyone, everywhere. This third-grader’s first realization that life wasn't always a great big bowl of cherries. 

JOY EDDLEMAN / Class of 1973

I have been talking about biographies with my kids in the library and pulled a book on JFK and told them all about him. It was very humbling for me and them as I recount how I was sitting at Freeman Elementary in the third grade and can still hear Earnestine Milstead coming over the speaker to tell us the president had been shot. I was stunned and I could not understand the enormity of it all. I have often wondered where this country would be if he had lived. Look at what he accomplished in just two years.  

MT BRYANT / Class of 1974

I was in school at South Houston Elementary, maybe third grade, Ms. Campbell, I believe. She was also my neighbor. She came in shocked and crying, and told us the horrible news. I remember getting home, thinking to myself it can’t be true, for I loved President Kennedy, as did my Father and Mother.The next few days we watched the horrible reality of what had happened in Dallas. It seemed so far away, but it was so close to home. It was like the end to all times. What were we going to do? How were we going to go on? It was such a helpless feeling that children should not have to go through, but we did. And 50 years later it still brings tears to my eyes. 

KAREN PRESCOTT / Class of 1974

I was in Mrs. Ruth Porter's second-grade class at Lucille Gregg Elementary in the Houston ISD. We were sitting in the reading circle until we were let out a little early. I walked home with my friend Leslie Lilie. I watched TV until my Mom got home. 


I was in second grade. I remember my Mom picking us up early and she was crying. Then the next memory was being upset because there were no cartoons on Saturday because of the funeral that lasted like a week. Those were scary political times too. I remember my Dad and Mom always talking about the state of the world and having things in our trunk in case of an A-bomb and starting a bomb shelter. 

DANNY DICKSON / Class of 1975

I was at AB Freeman Elementary. My mom was a den mother and I got to go with the Cub Scouts and stand at the entrance of Hobby Airport, and we saw him sitting up in a big convertible limo the day before he was killed in Dallas. My mom snapped pictures from her Polaroid. She still has the pictures. Principle Ernestine Milstead made the announcement over the loud speakers in the classroom. I remember clear as day walking along the shell path from the school with Kenny Barr and down Elton Street to our house. I walked into the house and saw my Mom crying for the first time. That day was the "end of the innocence" for me. And the beginning of tragic times as the 60's wore on. Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War. There were only three channels on TV, so you really couldn't get away from it. 

DARRELL McADA / Sam Rayburn HS / Class of 1975

I remember being upset on Saturday because the Funeral interrupted the Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner show. I was young but I knew that that was a life changing event. Nobody could fathom the murder of JFK. What a sad day in our history. 

CHERYL MEYER / Class of 1975

My brothers and I were at St. Mary's Catholic School, in Cocoa Beach, Fla. I was in first grade. We all stopped what we were doing and the nuns directed us to start praying. 

CHERYL A. AUSTIN / Class of 1976

I am a post Sputnik baby, and believed JFK when he so confidently announced that by the end of the decade, we would send men to the moon and back. I was six years old and not in school because I was not six before the school year started. So I was home and had skinned knees from trying to roller skate and was outside when a neighbor came out screaming and crying saying the President was dead. The whole neighborhood went eerie. I went inside and my Mom was very shaken and pale. I only knew something terrible had happened, and after all the duck and cover exercises about nuclear attacks, I felt like we were no longer safe for some reason. I didn't like the Sixties because of all the unrest and upheaval, but positive changes did come. But there was also the war, Bobby Kennedy killed and three astronauts died on a launch pad in a terrible fire, screaming for help. Yet, we persevered and sent men to the moon and back more than a few times. Yeah, it seemed to me that Seventies was pretty boring compared to this. Except the Seventies had better music...LOL! Seriously though, I did kind of think about JFK the day the Neil Armstrong put down the first human footprint on the moon. 


I was in kindergarten at Easthaven Baptist. I came home and my mom was crying. 

BECKY BENNER  / Class of 1980

I was 17 months old, supposedly too young to remember, but I do. I didn't understand, but I knew something was really wrong. I was at my grandparents’ house and everything and everyone stopped and watched TV. I felt scared, so I sat still like a statue in front of the TV for what felt like hours. It's my earliest memory.