A Simple Memory of 50 Years Ago

My memories of November 22, 1963: Not detailed but vivid. Eighth period Algebra II class. Mr. Mattern, our teacher, heart throb to many of the girls, popular with the boys, comes into the classroom slightly late, composed but crying, announces—talking faster than usual—that the president has been shot. I don’t recall whether he gave the class direct eye contact or just talked into the air. I don’t recall if he knew whether or not Kennedy was already dead. I don’t recall what happened next, other than that I’m pretty sure we didn’t have a normal classroom session. Did the entire school get together in an assembly? I think so but I’m not sure. That night, we watched lots of news on TV. It was a confusing time but I already felt a sense of loss. Kennedy represented hope—from what I didn’t yet have a perspective.