Monday, November 02, 2009

El Día de los Muertos II

"The Grown-Ups," the latest episode of AMC's Mad Men, hits the mark dead on. Not only do we see responses to the developments in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and in the days afterward; we also see it as a threshold moment for television, and for television news, and for the people watching.

This is the first episode of Mad Men that intersects with my own memories. Because even though I was not even three years old, everyone around me must have emanated such high emotion that I couldn't fail to remember it. Two fragments have stuck with me in particular ever since. In the first, I'm praying with my Mom for the President's life. Everything else comes to a halt. Clearly, my mother's responses say to me, THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER. And I vaguely do understand the idea of President as Leader. In the second memory fragment, I'm watching the funeral procession (days later) on TV. I feel a connection with John-John because he is only a little bit older than I am, that is obvious; and it is very sad. Horses, carriage, coffin, people walking. Vaguely remember other people being around me, also rapt in the moment.

Either before during or after this time, I believed in ghosts, goblins and witches -- actually saw them, presumably in dreams. I remember feeling strongly that I must pray for everyone I knew before I went to sleep, worried about their safety and well-being. I remember stories read to me before or after from a series of books including fables, legends and myths. But where those stories fit in actual chronology, I have no idea other than it was all before we moved to the Chicago area, when I was five.

For those old enough at the time, what do you remember about the JFK assassination?

Today's Rune: Separation (Reversed).


Evan said...

The Kennedy assassination is the first news event I can ever remember - I was almost 4. I remember my mother crying and telling me that the President had been shot. ("Who's the President?" was my reply.) As with you, Erik, it was the first time I'd ever seen the grown-ups upset like that so it made a big impression. I also recall watching the funeral on TV and being annoyed that my usual cartoons weren't on. When I got really bored with the funeral coverage, my father and a friend took me downtown to see the Christmas decorations - which had just been put up since it was almost December. Strange somehow...

the walking man said...

The first news even I remember is Sputnik.

About Kennedy I remember it all but the one that sticks out the most vividly is Oswald being shot by Ruby. It was the first reality TV I ever saw.

t said...

Ok this was a very fascinating post. sorry to not say will come.

Anonymous said...

I remember my parents being very upset that the President had been killed, and me being puzzled about the whole thing, in part because at that age (having just turned four), I didn't get what death was. Also I didn't know who or what the President was, or why it was such a big deal. My Dad later told me we'd all been watching when Ruby shot Oswald on live TV. He says he rushed to turn it off whe that happened, to spare my innocent eyes. I don't recall that episode at all.


Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all for the most excellent comments -- much appreciated. Memory is a strange prism, and powerful.