Friday, 22 November 2013

I, too, remember where I was when JFK was shot

On a dark and sad November evening, a post about memory rather than about history. The global media has written enough this week about John Kennedy's legacy. For me, it was the first major historical event of which I retain memories. During the Cuban Missile Crisis a year and a month earlier, my parents were extremely concerned; I had just started primary school and remember nothing of those worries.

At home watching television with my parents. I was six, the full import of what was happening was lost on me, though in my consciousness, America was a violent country where people routinely shot one another. My parents sat in front of the television watching BBC news with a sense of gloom. My attempts to cheer them up failed. That evening, the BBC rescheduled its programmes and put on some light entertainment - TV comedian Harry Worth.

In that episode, Harry pulls out of his wicker basket an old teddy bear, which he says he only brings out on special occasions. I joked " when a president gets shot", again trying to raise spirits. This time the joke was met with a rebuke from my father.

Above: photo taken that evening by my father Bohdan Dembinski of the 405-line b&w TV set as the news was being reported from America on the BBC.

This article from The Independent is interesting for those who stayed up watching TV a bit later than my bedtime.

Forty-five years on, my memory of that evening was the Novemberness of it all; the gloom, the three-bar electric heater radiating dull orange light, the utilitarian grey and black furniture, the flickering black and white 405-line TV set, the sadness in my parents' hearts.

This time two years ago:
Bad customer service - a camera repairer to avoid

This time four years ago:
November weather notes

This time five years ago:
First snow, winter 2008-09

This time six years ago:

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