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Saturday, November 22, 2003

40 Years ago

16 years old, 10th grade, Portsmouth (NH) High School, biology class, principal announces over the in-class PA system that the president had been shot. Lesson stops, all ears focused on the audio being relayed from TV channel 6 out of Portland, ME, over the PA system, prayers (silent and whispered) being offered, soft sobs damping everyone's eyes. Bell rings, students move to the last class of the day. Almost 5,000 people in the building (my class of 1966 was 1800 alone) and absolute silence during class change, just the TV audio. Final class of my day, geometry, the teacher had a test scheduled for that day and come hell or presidential assassination she was going to give it. Passed out the exam, the announcer tells us that the president is dead, the teacher tells us that his death isn't important, the country was better off without him in the White House, and that the test would count 10% towards our final grade. Failed the test. Went home and was glued to the TV screen until the curtain rang down on this macabre play five days later.

I guess this day is etched in my mind until I am dead.