"A View Through the Windows"....sounds like a great Alfred Hitchcock movie, but no.. it is not. It's just another insight into my memory bank that holds the personal movies that were both tragic and comedic. This particular memory and viewing would become life altering. If I had been given a choice, I would have voted no to the screening, bought some popcorn and went back home to enjoy it.
As 1963 was drawing to a close, I was becoming even more aware of just how quickly people come and go in our lives, and just how quickly life can change in a split second. It was our weekly TV lesson at school on the local public station. On that November day we all stared at the screen viewing President Kennedy arriving in Dallas, where he was going to give a speech we were to hear. We were abruptly startled as the camera that was showing the live coverage of President Kennedy's arrival filmed the shooting. The whole classroom would witness the actual shooting that took the President's life that day. It was a first to see the live footage of what had just taken place. We were stunned and frightened to see what a was being played out in front of our eyes. Suddenly the teachers were gathering all the students and taking them outside where they began sending us home early. It may have been nice to get an early release from school, but that day I left with trepidation at what I had just seen. People were weeping and overwhelmed at the news that our President had died from a bullet to the head. This was not something that happened often and to see it on national TV was incredible. People were in a state of shock. The television was turned on the moment we arrived home and, like everyone else around the world, we stayed glued in our seats to witness this horror over and over again.
I saw the sadness from the nightly TV anchors and witnessed tears falling from their eyes. The nation mourned the loss and feared the worst. School would be canceled for a few days after this catastrophic incident and I began to be afraid that the world was going to end because of it. It didn't...........that night..............and I awoke the next morning with a whole new perspective on just how out of touch humans can be when mentally off balance. The sudden death of a President, fear of communism and Cuba's missles were just too much to try to understand what was happening.
The days off from school were quiet and rang of melancholy. The odd sadness prevailed over everyone you would see and their conversations were perplexing. The country was definitely in mourning and live television would never be the same. A few days later while watching more of the coverage I witnessed the shooting of Oswald, once again on live television. It frightened me so much that I ran from the room in total fear that someone else would be shot and I wanted no part of seeing anyone else killed before my eyes.... The immense impact of seeing that happen led to many fearful and unrestful nights in the days after. I had no idea that people would actually do that kind of act. Of course it happened in the movies and on TV but, after all it was just acting. It totally took away some of my young innocent thinking and I began to look at people differently.
I was in amazement at how a few weeks later, the world just picked up and moved on. Each day the memory of that fateful day merged into an acceptance and everyone just carried on and picked up where their lives had left off. It left a blanket of unrest among many and it would not be very long until my generation began to rise up and tell it like they felt it. We were on the verge of a societal change and the music industry would soon turn a whole new generation around a corner that would remain very pivotal in our history. Science and industry was moving as fast and technology would always make for new headlines. I was heading towards the teens, yet physically my body was not catching up as fast as my mind was growing. To have witnessed a moment in history of that magnitude was rare and unforgettable. It would prove to be just the beginning of more and overwhelming tragedies that now are a regular everyday event most of which are just shrugged off as normal. But how is that normal?
As the seasonal holidays approached that year, I still continued to search for that silver lining that would hopefully encompass my life and shroud me from the realities of human misbehavior. I wanted to believe that everything would be alright. Christmas was coming and I hoped that the bright tree lights would somehow color things happy. Inside the facade of a home life there was a growing unrest among the parents. It would begin making it's appearances unannounced and would make an impression on how I would view relationships in my future. I was tuned into a home life TV station that did not display the life of the Cleavers or the Stones. It was your typical dysfunctional all American household, where divorce was the mode thing to do. Divorce would not come for a while, but it's impending reality lurked around every room.
All of this culmination of people, relationships, and everyday life within the world would begin to represent the future of many things to come that would affect my view of life as I knew it to be. In such a short time there occurred many things that put a new contrast on reality. It was not for my viewing pleasure, but served as the cable that linked many other life changing events that were yet to come.