For Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania freshmen that meant a quiz in Biology. Up to then, that was our biggest angst. And even though our president was shot that Friday, November 22, 1963, that weekly test would trump all over concerns for the rest of that semester and the next. Unlike the chattering classes opined, I and perhaps many others didn't lose our innocence. That was to be years off.
Steeped in the values of the Eisenhower generation, many of us remained in-tact. We didn't wake up until a personal tragedy such as a retarded child, a cultural revolution such as drug, sex, and rock and rock in the early 1970s, or getting good jobs in Corporate America.
On that day, my roommate Janet Paisley and I, full of ourselves, left campus to roam the streets of that then-nowhere town. We had been warned to "get out" before the snows came to western PA.
An instructor who had told us to "stop in any time" didn't seem too suprised when we did. She didn't offer us a beer, which was on our agenda since we couldn't buy one on our own. Then the phone rang in her apartment. A professor told her the news. She didn't invite us to watch the TV coverage. So we headed back to the streets.
Of course, we couldn't absorb the implications. Neither of us cried. I hunkered down and studied for exams. No, I didn't follow it all in the TV set up in the college library.
About 15 years later I ran into Janet accidentally in Greensburg. Neither of us rehashed that day. It really didn't register then and it wasn't loose change rattling around in our memory bank.
Maybe because I never really took it in, I am puzzled that the anniversary continues to still get so much attention. Here is coverage in Politico. The anniversary, every year for eight years, of my dog Molly Mitten's death on the afternoon before the Fourth of July is the field force which pulls me back. I remain undone by the mystery of her death.