On November 22, 1963, I was 6 years old. I would have said I was in kindergarten, but it was first grade. When the phone rang, I answered it in the small sitting room off the kitchen. I wasn’t much taller than the phone stand. After my great-aunt gave me the news, I stepped into the hall holding the receiver attached by a cord to the rotary-dial phone, and I looked up and down the hall for a grown-up. All that space above me.
Four and a half years later, I was 11 and downstairs by myself watching TV in the playroom when the show was interrupted with the news that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. I would have said it was a Sunday evening, but it was a Thursday. The Kings lived in Atlanta. Their children went to the same school I did–Spring Street School. Marty was in my grade. We collected money to send flowers.
Two months later, on June 6, 1968, my father woke me up by sitting on the side of my bed–my room was at the front of the house at the time–to tell me about Bobby Kennedy.
Unlike some of the other things I’ve written about this year, I have written about these events before, but not during this year of true things.