In the summer of 1960, Mom had taken my younger sister and I for a walk on Fordham Rd, something we often did just to get out of the house during the summer heat. There was no A/C at home, that’s for sure. We were strolling along Fordham Rd., not far from Sears when we came on a storefront. Large red, white and blue banners with Kennedy for President written in the center. Sketches and pictures of him all over the windows, and around the base of the window I saw the buttons. I coaxed my mom to stop, I wanted a JFK button. Mind you, I was only seven years old. I had no interest in politics. I had seen him on TV and compared to the other guy Richard Nixon, the creepy one. I chose Kennedy, he seemed like a nice man.
One of the volunteers in the campaign office greeted us and I asked for a button. He came back with a handful of buttons and literature. I was thrilled.Thanking him we headed for Sears, I handed out the fliers and buttons, more fliers than buttons, I wanted those for myself.
That fall the Yanks lost to the Pirates in the World Series but in November, JFK won the election. I was so happy, I certainly had done my part!
Roll ahead three years and then some, I’m now in the fifth grade, I remember that morning at school. Someone came to the classroom door, and my teacher stepped out for a moment. She came back into the room and said, “The President has been shot!, school is going to close early today”. My young mind just could not comprehend what was just said. Without anyone saying another word we were loaded on buses and sent home. I remember getting off the bus and a woman walking toward me crying, saying “ I can’t believe they killed him!” My young gut turned to water, I was scared. I got home, Mom was there, in tears, watching the television. I joined her in both, watching and tears, heartbroken.