Friday, November 22, 2013


I had just arrived in D.C.  Was a brand-new eager freshman at George Washington University.  Thanksgiving was about a week away and, of course, everyone was planning on going home for the family feast.  I was walking up Wisconsin Avenue towards my dorm (way past Georgetown), when I stopped into a fabric store for something.  Everyone was watching the TV.  The President had been shot.  It was surreal.  Took a while to sink in. 

That was the Thanksgiving no one went home.  My roommates and I stayed in town the whole week.  We went to the lying-in-state at the Capitol.  As we stood (hung) from the light platforms listening to the ceremony inside, we heard on someone's portable radio about Oswald's shooting.  Someone in the group even cheered.   I did go through the line to give respects at the catafalque.   We were there early sitting on the curb on Connecticut Ave. opposite St. Matthew's Cathedral, listening to the service, and watching the procession back towards the White House.  All the city buses had black ribbons on their antennae.  We watched whatever we could on TV.  

It was sad, bewildering, and historic.  

A dear room mate's father was active in the Democratic Party in D.C., and was on the LBJ committee of transition.  She and I got tickets to the Inaugural Ball.  She went, I didn't.  I had learned that you may get a beautiful engraved and gold-embossed invitation, but to RSVP and attend, you had to pay!   As a scholarship student, I did not have the $150 or $200 or whatever it was for the ticket...   Still have that invitation someplace.  

I loved being in Washington.  Beautiful city.   I walked and walked.  But this was an unexpected and sad introduction to a fascinating historical city.

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