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Remembering President Kennedy

November 26, 1988

I opened my Times this morning to see a group of school children pictured before former President Kennedy's grave at Arlington Cemetery (Part I, Nov. 21).

A lump grew in my throat. I looked at my watch with the little date on it. Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of an event I will never forget. I rose from the breakfast table and went to a special drawer in my desk. I opened it and my fingers touched gently upon another copy of The Times concealed there, yellowed with age, but the impact of its picture and article no less dimmed than if it had been printed yesterday. I picked up the Nov. 23, 1963, issue. The headline read, "Kennedy Assassinated."

Suddenly, I was 13 years old again, sitting in journalism class, a freshman at Sierra High School in Whittier. The dread announcement blared over the school intercom. The bell rang. Students changed classes. Halls were cold and silent. Stunned faces passed, mostly weeping. Children hugged each other with no parents to cry to. Cold chills tingled my scalp spreading into goose bumps down my back and arms. I walked and walked to a class I can't remember.

I looked up from the yellowed pages and checked my watch again . . . 7:30 a.m., Nov. 21, 1988. I'd better hurry. Have to get to work. Not to the newspaper office I'd envisioned at 13, but to the Ecumenical Food Center where I now work at 39.

Five hundred needy families will receive free Thanksgiving food packages soon. There's lots of work to do. Someone will be there I don't want to miss.

If only in spirit, somehow I think President Kennedy will be watching with an approving eye.


La Habra

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