Friday, November 22, 2019

The Cover of Life

We shipped the very heavy, very expensive-to-ship box that contains a treasure trove of photos and mementos that my Mom had stored in her garage. It arrived, along with some other boxes for me, my sister, and BroPete, a few weeks ago. It might already have been a month. I went through the three boxes earmarked for me, but I only just opened the photo bin to show the lads what was inside.

Other than that, I haven't dared look through it. It sits behind me in my office, as do her cremains and still-unopened sympathy cards, as I face my monitor and keep imaginary binders on my left. But today is November 22, and that is a day that looms large in me. It is the day of JFK's assassination. And in that very heavy, very-expensive-to-ship box of my Mom's is this.

I was all of 2 years old when JFK was assassinated. My first memory is on that day. We lived in Ludlow, MA, then, in a house I thought of as my grandparents' but later discovered was my parents'. I remember adults crying. My Mom, for sure. My Grandma, yup. I don't picture my Dad in this memory. I remember being struck by the crying of adults. And I remember being plunked down in front of a TV in another room. I feel like I remember watching children's shows, cartoons, but I have a hard time reconciling that with the belief I have that all of the five or six channels we could pick up would have been focused on the news.

Regardless, that memory and my ties to Massachusetts along with my, at the time, closet liberal Mom's likely feeling of kinship with Jackie, fostered an obsession with me about all things JFK in my early childhood. Mom bought a couple of coffee table books on him, and I remember poring over them.

I don't know what else is in that very heavy, very-expensive-to-ship container, but I am pretty sure that there will be a lot more jolts to my memories. I'll let you know. Or not.


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