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In Memory

President John F Kennedy




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11/22/13 03:19 PM #1    

Donna Landau (Hittel) (1968)

I was in Eighth Grade in Eastbrook, and it was nearing the end of the day.  A boy named Mark came into class late, which as I recall was not that unusual for him :).  Mark had been in the main office, and he breathlessly told Mr. DeBlasi that he had heard "the President was shot!"

I hadn't really processed what Mark said, but I remember Mr. DeBlasi saying, "I hope that is not true," and he instructed Mark to sit down.  Later, just before the end of the school day, the radio report was broadcast over the PA.  I don't remember any more of that class, but I distinctly remember exiting to the hallway and meeting Sue Gardner, who was exiting the room directly across the hall.  Sue and I always walked home together, since we lived near each other.

The instant Sue and I saw each other in the hallway, we burst into tears and cried the entire (and considerable) way home.  We would blurt out, not only our grief, but our worst fears about what could happen to the country without President Kennedy.  I remember one or both of us expressing our terror of the Communists "coming in", and nuclear attack.

11/22/13 05:27 PM #2    

Henry Randolph Hensel (1963)

POSTED FOR Maddalena "Muffie" Malni (Pascoletti)(1963)

At the end of my school year at Paramus High School (June 1963), I - like other 2000 exchange students from all over the world - did a tour of the States nearer to where we had spent our year and then gathered in Washington DC to meet President Kennedy. We were all sitting on the grass of the White House yard and listened to words of peace and international understanding. On the following November 22nd, I was ready for dinner (it was seven o'clock in the evening in my town in Italy) when I heard the news on TV. You can just imagine how I felt. I recall every minute of that evening. When I went to school the following morning (in Italy we have one more year of High School) our History teacher said that the world would never have been the same after that. I think she was right. Almost forty years later I said the same thing to my students the day after 9/11. I's our personal history that meets History with a capital H.Sometimes we would rather it didn't.


11/22/13 05:37 PM #3    

Henry Randolph Hensel (1963)

I had graduated PHS in June of 1963 and remember well the pride we felt for JFK. Somehow; he connected with the youth of this country. I had just started a new job when the news came over the radio that JFK had been shot and then later reported he had died. Five years later, November 22, 1968 at 12:16PM (to the day and almost to the hour) my son Adam was born. Now, my family is forever connected to this day. 

11/22/13 06:19 PM #4    

Alicia "Elly" Levy (Brenner -Brookshire) (1963)

I, like most people, remember this day vividly. I worked at the Peoples Trust Bank, in Lodi, NJ. I was in the back of the bank, where there were windows. The sky went from normal, to a dark ominous black. About an hour later, we heard over the radio, that President Kennedy had been shot and then, that he was dead. Shock and disbelief followed. The world changed that day.


11/22/13 06:59 PM #5    

Michele See (Simon) (1964)

I was in the Driver's Ed car with Mr. DeGasperis who let us put the radio on. We were a few blocks from the school and when we heard the news on the radio. Mr. De told me to go right back to PHS. I remember getting out of the car under the wavy roof and the sky was very dark and cloudy. I rushed to the girl's gym and blurted out what I heard. Miss Hakim yelled at me because she thought I was making it up. Miss Nelson told me to sit down and calm down. As soon as I sat I burst into tears. Within a 1/2 hour everyone at PHS was told to head home. I remember walking home (I lived on Howland) and I cried all the way. Horrible horrible day. I remember it like it was yesterday.

11/22/13 07:09 PM #6    

Charlie Mala (1964)

At around 12:30 PM that day I was pacing back and forth by myself on the PHS stage because that evening I was to play the part of Sheridan Whiteside in the play The Man Who Came to Dinner. I turned and, I believe it was Joe Lishok from the lighting crew, who ran onto the stage and told me that the President had been shot.

My first thought was that it was a bad joke. Then slowly I started hearing the voices getting more intense in the hallway and I knew this was no joke.

I went out into the hall and students were running every which way. There was an announcement over the PA for all the students to go to the gymnasium. It now hit me like a freight train...this was real! 

As the teachers were rounding up the students to corral them into the gym I saw Miss Freeman, our guidance counselor, pushing through the crowd and heading straight for me. She grabbed me by the arm and said I was going with her. We headed toward the front doors of the high school and out into the parking lot. She said not a word to me. She just held my hand and we walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the building. We then spotted Mr. Pascrell who had made his way to his car and was sitting in the front seat with the door open and the radio on. We walk to him, still not speaking. A moment or two after we reached the car I heard the newscaster say, "the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy is dead.

My heart started pounding like it has never pounded before. My head felt like it was going to explode. Miss Freeman sqeezed my hand so hard I truly thought she was going to break my fingers. No one has ever sqeezed my hand that hard before or since.

In my grief I knew that there would be no show that night but beforeI could process it someone came and got me and brought me to Mr. McDonough's office. I thought for sure this was to confirm that once we all went home no one would be back that night to see a play. To my surprise he told me that the show was still on and that President Kennedy, being a lover of the arts, would have wanted it that way. I could not believe what I was hearing! I stared at him for a moment, tears running down my face and told him that was not going to happen. I would not be there. A few moments later he agreed and I left.

On my way out of the building I saw Sue Ganteaume. She saw what an emotional wreck I had become and told me I had to come to her house that evening. She told me it was important that I not be alone watching all the news on television by myself. I went to her house and we watched and cried over the day's events. I started dating her soon after that.

It was a whirlwind of emotions that I will never forget and I find myself thinking of it often.

11/22/13 08:36 PM #7    

Ken Baba (1973)

The country elected a young carasmatic, well educated and poised forward thinking Idealist. Someone that beleived in "to whom much is given - much is expected" - and the old men with money killed him. Dick Cheney would have proudly hung his Democratic head on his Den wall, Carl Rove would have claimed he actually fired the shot from the grassy noll,  while many of the people "on" Wall Street today wonder where there youth and money went... To be in the Paramus school system in the late 50`s to early to mid 60`s was sweet - yes, sweet and promising. While those words sound nastalgistic and whimsical , we have waisted all of our surpulatives on such lesser words and deeds that  the meanings for virtues and character  have all been devalued to a "net, bottom-line" dollar value. The $ sighn is the new exclamation mark. There is no longer a right or wrong - there is right and getting caught, it has become a $6.95 all you can eat, pump it your self, need a penny leave a penny washed out land of plenty. But, even as all the evils in the world escaped Pandora`s box at the bottom was hope. Senator Daniel Moyanhan from NY summed it best I thought when he said: " we will all laugh again but we will never be young again".  Love, peace and happiness/grandchildren, Kennybaba.


11/23/13 04:08 AM #8    

Richard Grefrath (1964)

Yesterday was such a sad day.  Tina and I wore black, and flew the American flag at half-staff; then around lunchtime I heard the song "Abraham, Martin, and John," which only seemed to amplify the horror.  We are among those for whom the wound has not healed.

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