Memorable events make their mark on our memories by our recollections of what we were doing at that particular moment in time, It could be something as simple as “I was washing the dishes,” “I was changing the oil in the car” or perhaps to those attending a baseball game on Dec. 7, 1941, when the public address system issued a call for all military personnel to report to their stations or the mid evening radio station break, followed by the sound of the Liberty Bell to announce VE Day, all moments of recall.
This week we, and so many in the world remember, the terrible tragedy that occurred on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, that changed everything but yet was an individual loss felt by so many.
This writer was managing a theatre on Broadway, one of the last whose programs consisted of a big screen newsreel and short subjects in a one-hour show, as well as a lounge for viewing of television. That Saturday afternoon, the projectionist came into my upstairs office saying “Somebody shot Kennedy, I just heard it on the radio!” Confirming what he had told me, I knew that we needed a sign outside to let the crowds passing down Broadway know the latest and I headed to the sign shop of Meyer Chinsky who I knew could make me one right away. Meyer specialized in fast work since his free hand style reminded you of the sign in the diner “Ham & Eggs 35 cents” in flowing script. Explaining my requirements, “I need a 40×60 – JFK SHOT IN DALLAS.” Meyer quickly spread out the show card and with a few quick motions of his hand, passed the card over to me saying “It’ll be dry in a couple of minutes.” Then he handed me another card saying, “You might need this, I left some space.” The card he handed me had only one word – DEAD.
Jack D. Ballard