Learning to live in black and white: November 22, 1963

askefWzLig4KpEfniAPdwdrOU30TUElNYTu3mZ_osAII sat in my second-grade desk on a Friday afternoon.

Our desks were covered with papers and crayons.

Art is always more colorful just before the weekend.

Sister’s voice blurted through our visual work on the desks.

Her sad voice caught my attention. She pointed to the loudspeaker.

Walter Cronkite announced that President Kennedy was shot.

Then silence reached my crayons. The color stopped.

Mr. Cronkite told us that the President was dead.

We closed our boxes of crayons and put our papers away.

From the box on the wall, the voices seemed all black and white.

The color drained from our lives that day.

The black and white nuns cried.

My father put his hands over his mouth, my mother wiped tears from her cheeks.

Color was being drained from a normal weekend.

Walter’s  voice shattered and consoled us.

I spent the weekend at the cottage on the lake.

I sat in front of the TV on a small rocking chair.

I felt older than my years.

The black and white scenes played out in real time.

On Sunday, I watched from my mini-rocker Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald.

My father drank a martini and then another. He never drank them.

Extended family gathered and the room filled with emotions that I had never seen or felt.

We watched the black and white truth unfold on the TV near the window.

I felt cold and lonely sitting on the child’s rocker.

I learned to live and feel the truth from black and white.

4 thoughts on “Learning to live in black and white: November 22, 1963

  1. Color brings me great joy….that’s not to say black and white photos and art are sad, but definitely make a sad scene more intense to me. This terrible day fifty years ago is most honest in black and white. You are a beautiful writer….thank you for sharing.

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