The early sixties boded well for life in general. Americans would all have money. We would all be hip also. Men could grow beards in college, sing folk songs and be assured that after college they could easily obtain jobs in New York in the arts and in the publishing industry. All that was required was a piece of paper.
Negroes would obtain their rights and would be quickly merged into the middle class. There would be music, lots of government benefits, and grants for all ...but underneath the beards and berets, young people would respect their parents and their country and still go to church on Sunday and temple on Saturday if they were Jewish.
Somehow the thought that we didn't live in a perfect world, a world about to become the future world of the Jetsons, showed its ugly head on November 22, 1963. I didn't know it at the time.
I first heard about the assassination at Fanny Hillers School, where I was in the sixth grade. It was a nice day and we were playing touch football outside the school during gym class. Then some kid who had a transistor radio announced that Kennedy had been doing Christmas shopping and been shot in Texas. Soon afterwards, school was dismissed.
I was a junior leader, a highly prestigious position. I was in charge of the bicycle rack. Underused, still the bicycle rack had its share of customers, including a girl. The kids quickly discharged their bicycles and rode home before the Russian bombs descended. One young girl was picked up by her mother in front of my station.
"Why was Kennedy shot?" the crying girl asked.
"It has to do with the colored," the mother replied.
I went home and the Mills family was in my kitchen. Mrs. Mills was crying. Johnson was now president. My mother didn't say a word about this development.
On Monday we got off from school. My father sent me to the store to buy potato chips. Eating potato chips, the family watched the funeral procession of Jack Kennedy. My father drank beer. We drank soda. I still remember the taps guy missing the first bar. da da douey.....