History, Kennedy And So It Goes

kennedyThis post has become something of an annual tradition just to keep people updated on the after effects.  It was originally written by my son with a lot of research help from me for a school project.  He was to write about what happened the year he was born.  By fudging a bit on the time line since he was born in February, he wrote about November 1962 to November 1963.  This was what happened then.

Had she or hadn’t she? Sleeping pills, yes, but what? Thalidomide – the name haunted her and every other pregnant woman in 1962. Those babies! – Her baby? She was scared and would stay that way until next year.

El Camino Real – beautiful as only Northern California can be in the October sun. The radio blared away with the Four Seasons’ “Sherry”. They were young, a baby on the way, and happy – at least on this day. The President interrupted the music, “Today I have ordered a blockade of Cuba!” Suddenly their bright world was dark. They waited. The world waited. Six days later the Russian ships turned around and the sun came out again, but for how long?

“You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more” sounded like as good a promise as any following the November elections. Vaughn Meader had them all laughing with his satire of the Kennedy White House, “Goodnight Jackie. Goodnight Bobby. Goodnight Ethel. Do you have your bear, Teddy?”

“Puff the Magic Dragon” welcomed a baby boy into the world on February 21, 1963. His mother counted fingers and toes in time to the music. He was beautiful, perfect, loved. She was politically aware and terribly liberal, but at this moment, it didn’t matter that the South was in an uproar over integration or that the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the right of peaceful assembly. Christopher Alan was here and safe. Let the world take care of itself. She had bigger responsibilities.

The baby went to the movies right along with mommy and daddy. An infant-seat made seeing “The Birds” and “Lawrence of Arabia” easy. And to think it wasn’t that long ago that she thought Hula Hoops were the greatest invention ever!

Divorce was becoming the great American pastime. She was just one more casualty that May. There were lots of casualties – her kind and the “advisors” in Viet Nam. It was a time of commitment and she was supposed to care about the Green Berets, care about the Peace Corps, care about LSD and Timothy Leary, care about so much, but there just wasn’t time. Being a single working mother took all of her hours. Given her choice of trends to lead, this wouldn’t have been it. She and Tony Bennett had both left their hearts in San Francisco. Rod McKuen might think that love had been good to him. She disagreed. Oh well, McDonalds sold 15-cent hamburgers. At least she didn’t have to cook.

JFK was a Berliner at the wall, and Camelot was in full swing. Pope John XXIII died; the world mourned a good man. Fanny Hill fought its way through obscenity trials, while Bob Dylan led the war protesters with “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Martin Luther King had a dream near the Washington Monument – too late for Medgar Evers murdered the previous June and not in time for the four young girls bombed to death in church the following September. The US/USSR hotline was installed, and the “red phone” became a symbol of the unthinkable. Could anything else happen in this crazy year?

Los Angeles baseball fans were in heaven, and Kofax and Drysdale were patron saints! A four game sweep of the World Series had the city pretending it was New Year’s Eve, as confetti and champagne rained down on the heroes! Those beautiful no-hitter bums!

Her child was ten months old now, but for three days he slept almost constantly as if he understood that this was no time for a baby to cry. The tears fell uncontrollably from much older eyes. The drums of November marked a national tragedy. “Where were you when you heard?” would become the question a generation could answer. Kennedy dead and two days later his accused assassin died “live” on TV. On the television: the flag, the riderless horse, and the constant pictures of a nation stunned by grief. She hovered over the sleeping infant, her tears dropping on the blond curls. What have we done to you? What will become of you? Was there any hope left for the world or this new person? They would have to wait and see – together.

——————————

For those curious as to “then what happened”, Christopher is now past 53. He retired from the U.S. Army and now lives and works in the state of Washington. He is divorced with two sons. His parents remarried only to divorce again seven years later (another story). He has a sister and two beautiful nieces.

His mother is a retired writer and editor and is still happily single. As with most of the country, she is no longer a sixties liberal and has settled somewhere around fanatically moderate Democratic/Republican: Social issues left, fiscal issues right with more than enough exceptions in between to give anyone political schizophrenia.  This year she is still in  state of denial that Hillary Clinton is not the president elect.  History continues to move on.

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About Jamie

Retired Writer Editor - Loves Books, Musical Theater, politics for a good argument, genealogy, Scotland and owls
This entry was posted in History, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to History, Kennedy And So It Goes

  1. rebelliousrenee says:

    Ah Jamie… it’s good to look back at history every once in awhile. Reading this post I realized this country lived through the 60s… JFK’s assassination… the Vietnam War…. all those massive protests… the SDS bombings… MLK’s assassination… Bobby’s assassination… and anything else you can think of. We will survive the Trump presidency. We just have to make sure we speak loudly and clearly about anything we see going on that we don’t like. Stand up to the bully!

    Like

  2. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/activists-urge-hillary-clinton-to-challenge-election-results.html?mid=fb-share-di

    The Dept. of Justice is tallying requests from the public to audit the results of NC, FL, and especially Wisconsin. Number is 202-353-1555 or try 202-514-2000. People beginning to see something is seriously wrong here-but deadline is soon –to get recount. Obama against any recount in name of continuity.. But please call ASAP May take a couple tries to reach them

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  3. On the 25th anniversary of the JFK assassination I was in a hospital room wondering if my first born would survive the open heart surgery he just had for a ruptured aorta after a senseless car crash. Most of the other years since ’63 were less traumatic. Just me quietly remembering the heartbroken teenager who wrote a poem called Dear John John. #1 son was born 3 years later and was now 22 and I prayed he would have more. The 60s decade was full of turmoil and for the first time we watched it all live of TV every night. As I look back on it I still don’t remember feeling as hopeless as I do in this new era we’re looking at. Back then I still believed in America, Democracy and the basic goodness of people. That was JFK’s legacy to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jamie says:

      Granny I’ve often referred to 1968 as the year America died. It is almost as if you can draw a line from before that year to after that year as one when somehow we lost our way. Maybe it was the RFK & MLK deaths on the heels of JFK and Malcolm X. All of the ideals seemed to start leaving. Trump seems to be the inevitable result. Hillary was a sort of last ditch stand for decency.

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  4. Oregon Democrst says:

    Everyone have a good Thanksgiving!!! I am reading Clint Hill book…”5 Presidents”…very good…

    Like

  5. whskyjack says:

    Yep< it been a while.

    Happy thanks giving

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rebelliousrenee says:

    Everyone here have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

    Like

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