Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nov. 22 Revisited

Those of us who are of, ahem, a certain age remember well what we were doing on this day in 1963. Even though 44 years have passed, I still remember that day when I was a freshman at Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU).

My Friday morning classes were over. Before I went to a late lunch, I looked out the window of my room in Founders Hall. My window overlooked Shafer Street, which at that time was still open to traffic. A lot of people were in the street and milling around—more commotion than usual. I went down the back steps to the cafeteria that was in the basement of Founders. I can still see the yellow-tiled walls. A lot of students were there. Some were crying. Then I found out what had happened.

Those of us sitting at the table shared bits and pieces of what we’d heard. This was way before cell-phones—before small transistor radios, even. Our news came in black and white from the TV in the student center or from the one in the dorm parlor. No student had a TV in his or her room. We had “table model” radios, though. But word quickly spread that the president had been shot. A bit later, we learned, he’d been killed.

Some fellow members of the cast of The Crucible were in the cafeteria. Our play was in late rehearsals. I played Elizabeth Proctor, wife of one of the accused. There was discussion about whether rehearsals should be cancelled, but the director decided—and the cast agreed—that the show would go on.

For those not familiar with Arthur Miller’s 1952 play which opened on Broadway in 1953 (and a few decades later became a movie), The Crucible was about the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which a group of malicious young girls accused people in Salem, Massachusetts, of being witches. They started with an Indian slave and a few eccentric old women and then branched out to others. Miller’s play takes considerable liberties with actual history, but the historical account of those strange and horrible events in 1692 is at the Famous American Trials site. Miller’s play isn’t just about the Salem Witch trials. It’s also about a later “witchhunt”—the McCarthy hearings. But I’m digressing.

In case you’re too young to remember the Kennedy assassination, and you want to know about the events that some of us watched on the black and white TV in our dorm parlor, The Fifties Web gives an account of what happened that strange day, November 22, 1963, in Dallas.

November 22, 2007, might be another strange day. Record high temperatures are predicted today for the area. Roanoke might even break its previous record of 73. When I walked around the yard this morning with my little black cat Dylan on his leash, I wore a short-sleeved shirt.

Meanwhile, the show goes on.



Blogger CountryDew said...

I was only five months old but I am told my mother left me in my highchair and went screaming out into the yard when she heard the news. I suppose I'm lucky I didn't fall out of the seat.

8:14 AM  

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