I was in 2nd grade at Riverdale Elementary School in Santa Ana, CA. The room phone rang and my teacher went over to answer it. She had a shocked look on her face as she hung up and told the class President Kennedy had been wounded in Dallas, TX. She didn't know how bad it was yet, but was clearly worried.
One of my seatmates said something funny, not about Kennedy but about some silly thing I don't even remember now, and I laughed. The teacher glared at me and commented that we shouldn't be joking about something so serious. I wasn't, but she wasn't in the mood to hear an explanation.
A few minutes later the phone rang again and this time the news was the president had died.
After school I went to a babysitter's house until my parents got home. My sitter's black-and-white TV was showing the arrival of Air Force One back at Andrews Air Force Base. I can still remember seeing the images of the men struggling to remove the casket from the rear of the plane, a blood-soaked Jackie Kennedy walking to the ambulance, and Lyndon Johnson coming to the microphone to speak to the nation for the first time as our president.
That weekend and Monday holiday was a blur of Kennedy remembrances, the Oswald shooting on Sunday, and the funeral on Monday. We bought a couple of commemorative books that detailed the events of those four days, and those books are still in my mom's library.
Hard to believe it's been 48 years.