JFK50: A Personal Recollection Of The JFK Assassination - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Josh Kaplan, Executive Producer, Good Day LA

JFK50: A Personal Recollection Of The JFK Assassination

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I've been thinking a lot about Mrs. Beaumont this week. She was my second grade teacher at Erwin Street Elementary school in the valley. She was young (though I didn't know it then), and friendly, and had this great British accent. She was Mary Poppins without the umbrella. When a student would answer a question correctly, she had this way of smiling that was worth more than gold. I did my homework diligently just hoping I would get a chance to answer a question in class and get that smile in return. But that smile isn't the way I remember her. I wish it was. Through the years, when I think of Mrs. Beaumont, I can only see the way the tears poured down her face when she announced to the class that the President of the United States had been assassinated. I'm not sure I knew who the President was, I certainly had no idea what "assassinated" meant. But on November 22nd, 1963, Mrs. Beaumont was crying, and she couldn't stop. 

They let us out of school early, and when I got home, my dad was there, in the middle of the day. I remember thinking whatever this thing had happened was, it was very big, and very bad.  I remember my mom, the most even-keeled person I have ever known, saying over and over: "nothing will ever be the same again". 

In the 50 years since that day in Dallas, psychologists, sociologists, and pundits of every stripe have echoed that sentiment. Some even say it was the moment when our national sense of innocence was lost forever.  In hindsight, I think that was true for me.

In the last few weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of JFK's death, iconic images from that week have played over and over and over again on TV.  JFK and Jackie, radiant in the Texas sunshine. The  obscene horror captured in Abraham Zapruder's 8mm home movie. 3-year-old John-John saluting as his father's casket rolled by. Jackie saying her final farewell. 

It's hard to watch, and impossible to turn away.  For hundreds of millions of people, those images shape their memory of the day the President was killed. For me though, those memories always start... with Mrs. Beaumont.

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