Everything happens when I'm in school. I guess that's because I spent most of my life in the classroom, one way or the other. When JFK was shot, I was in my first year of teaching. I was talking to to my fourth-period class about some scene in Huckleberry Finn when the school secretary came to the door and called me out of the room. She told me that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. That was all she knew. I went back into class and finished the lesson.
I had a study hall the next period. It was in a huge room with a lot of students. I think there must have been 100, but I could easily be mistaken. When I walked in, the room was completely quiet, a big change from the usual. Someone had set a little transistor radio in one of the windows and tuned it to a Dallas station. For the rest of the period we all listened. For nearly an hour nobody said a thing. Some of the students cried.
Five years ago on this date I was in my office at Alvin Community College. A lot of years in a lot of different schools had gone by since that long ago day in 1963. I was grading some papers when John Duke came in from the office next door to tell me that something was happening in New York. An airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. He had a TV set in his office, so I went with him to see what was going on. We saw the Twin Towers collapse.
Like a lot of people who were a good distance removed from the event, I spent most of the rest of the day in a kind of daze. I couldn't quite get a grip on what had happened. I'm not sure I have one yet. In the years since, a lot of things have happened in this country. Most of them I don't like at all, though I don't often talk about them here. That's not the purpose of this blog (in case you were wondering, the purpose of this blog is to keep me entertained). I just thought I'd say a few words today and then move on.