Search for Tomorrow

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She knew something was wrong when her show was interrupted during lunch, as she nibbled on a piece of cheese and a few crackers, watching Search For Tomorrow.

At first, she believed it was a test since television was warning her for months about the Russian Carriers and how close they came to Cuban Shores.

John-F-KennedyShe sat in the same spot every afternoon – I was attending Oneida Junior High in my hometown and was listening to the story of the death of Lincoln, in American History – I still remember the name of the teacher, Mrs. Aiken.  If I was younger I would have been watching the soap opera and gently pulling apart the American Bread to stare at the peanut butter, a habit I had.

Mother told me she stopped for a moment when the show disappeared from the screen and a notice came on announcing the President was shot in Dallas Texas.  She hardly believed her own ears, and then on came Search For Tomorrow.  Now, sitting on the edge of the sofa, she waited for confirmation.

He was shot, our President was shot, she thought to herself.  She was no longer concentrating on Search for Tomorrow, but waited, now standing closer to the television.

At the same time I was sitting in American History when a Guidance Counselor entered the room and whispered into Mrs. Akins ear.  For some odd reason, I still can’t explain it, I thought the President was dead.

Mother returned to the sofa and started to nibble on the crackers, while I was anxiously awaiting to learn what my teacher heard, having no reason to fear for the death of our President, but then, on that day, I knew he was dead.

“Bulletin,” the words came across the television, and there on live T.V. was a man named Walter Cronkite – and mother, like me, knew the President had died.  She never returned to work that afternoon, and classes were dismissed, and the day just began.

I kept watching the re-run of Mr. Cronkite, as he removed his glasses, blew on them, wiped them, glanced at the clock, and tried to talk to tell the nation our President was killed. Even a news man had tears in his eyes.  He acted nervous, upset, afraid to explain to the world of the death, so he glanced at the clock for a second time, he cleared his throat and said, “President John F. Kennedy, died today in a Dallas Hospital at,” he looked at the clock another time. . .

He spoke slow, his voice hushed as he stuttered, “John F. Kennedy died,”  once again he glances now at his watch, then the clock, his head is down staring at a piece of paper.  Mr. Cronkite clears his throat, and he wanted to cry, a grown man never cried on television, it just did not show his power, and forbid a man to be weak.  “Following a gun shot to his head –“

I guess it does not matter how many years pass, the scene will be played over and over in our mind from the past.  Mr. Cronkite interrupted mother’s show, Search for Tomorrow. “I remember him stating he will return with more news as it comes in.”  Cronkite removed his glasses and cleaned them like my mother on his shirt, then placed them back on as he struggled with his posture and a quiver in his voice, words jumbled as they slipped from an emotional man.

People talked about Mr. Cronkite, a rather reliable news reporter, struggling with his emotions, noticing a tear stream down his face, and all the people listening to the announcement were struggling too.

We starred at the television like the rest of the nation, and people told to remain home from work in honor of the President, it was Thanksgiving week, and what did we have to be thankful for…

I recall everyone staring in front of the television, even when Oswald said he was a patsy and I believed him, I thought it was wrong, he wasn’t the one who did all the harm, it was something bigger, they planted the gun, I knew it was someone who left on the run.

Before they transferred him, in the parlor we gathered, from the march to the hill to those men in the garage, something was happening, I knew it would too – I told my parents, “He is going to be killed, you watch and see.”  Perhaps it was History, or what happened to Lincoln, and all these steps were a play in my mind.  I yelled to the others, “Why bring him from there,” and a few moments later, he was dead and no longer a threat.

The proof of the pudding as my mother would have said, was dead and gone, and we are the pawn.  We shall never know, even records – blacked out with someone’s pen, if it were not for the film, we would have known nothing.  It seemed unfair, to a man in his seat, to rob his life, to take him away from his children and wife, this world was no better, when Booth planned his plight.

Like Lincoln and his wife Mary, at a theatre called Ford – his bodyguard lift him, his carriage driver asleep.  Therefore, Peterson went to the lobby then out of the building, there he was, Lincoln a prime target for his villain.  The men went to sip some beer down the street, and awaited what happened then fled D.C.

Only one route – opened to leave the big city, the one that Booth took with his friend Herald who missed – and never did kill his target, the Secretary of State.  Booth also left his pistol on the floor, and someone planted Oswald’s gun on the 14th floor.  Behind boxes and close to where the parade would go, and no one was close to the President, to guard his back – the cars too far from his side.

The security drank their way to bed, blamed it on being too tired instead.  The people all shocked and jumped at the rat, when the records show that big shots knew – it wasn’t  Oswald, everyone knew, but they were so frantic they were drawn to the news.

Every November I think of the past – and wonder why people all jump so fast… they blame the first person who raises their hand, like in class they stand out, and no one understands.  They both, were recruited to set up a scene, to make it play out and the people would agree – no one else could have done it, impossible they thought, but the basics are written, and the truth it was found.  Now finding the person with just enough nerve to tell the world about plans which had been in front of the public on that one fall day.  It won’t be the last, it wasn’t the first – it is history they say, but it’s a life or lives which we’ve lost.

1 Comment
  1. Michael W Staib says

    Thank you for your innovatively insightful rendition of history in this piece!

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