November 22, 1963, Where were you?
My friend Charlie and I sat in the parking lot of Justin F. Kimball High School. We both lived in Oak Cliff and for whatever reason (we didn't need much) going through the double doors when the 8:00 bell rang wasn't in the cards. I was a bored, Junior and to say I was less than average, in the grade department, would be an insult to underachievers. As we agonized over what to do, our buddy Gary pulled his Triumph TR3 into the empty spot next to Charlie's white 58 T-Bird. "Lets go to Bernies" Gary suggested. Bam!, that's all we needed. We followed the little blue Triumph out of the parking lot, left it a couple of blocks from school and Gary climbed into the T-Bird. Adventure was in the air.
Bernies was a hobby shop, on Jefferson Boulevard, next door to the Texas Theater. Bernies didn't open till 10:00 so we headed to "Kips Big Boy" for cokes and french fries, favored breakfast of the American teen. The big draw at Bernies was a huge 1/24th slot car track. We were at the hobby shop door when when it was unlocked. We navigated our way past the model planes hanging from the ceiling and lining the walls, to the back room. We raced our miniature cars until we were interrupted by a commotion outside.
Sirens and a crowd of uniformed officers blocked Jefferson and we all watched as several uniformed men escorted an unassuming man from the theater into a squad car and it ended as quickly as it had begun. Of course the man, taken into custody was Lee Harvey Oswald.
My mom was upset, when I got home. My dad was still at work. The President was dead. My father had gone to work for Armoured Motors shortly after we had moved from Denver to Dallas. He needed a pistol for work and purchased a Colt 45 automatic from a friend he met at church.
The friend was a Dallas Policeman Named J.D. Tippit.
Oswald had shot Tippit on his way to the Texas Theater. I didn't attend the funeral with my parents. The Texas Theater was one of our favorite Friday night out places.
I quit High School six days before graduation. I guess I didn't need it. I went to college on the GI Bill. If Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy, would I have gone to Vietnam, anyway? I don't know. He was trying to get us out.
Will we ever have all of the answers? I doubt it.
That is my story, my brush with history and I'm sticking to it.