On November 22, 1963, I vividly remember three things.
- My oldest brother had his 20th birthday.
- President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
- I was given Coca-Cola to drink out of a crystal sherry glass.
I was home from school with a stomach ache, watching TV, when the news about the shooting in Dallas broke. I ran to tell my mother who hurried into the room and stared at the television in disbelief. She called my father at work. And poured another glass of sherry.
Because I had an upset stomach and she considered Coke a cure for stomach aches, she poured me a glass of Coke. In a crystal sherry glass, just like hers. This was my first drink in a grown-up glass. I felt very important as my mother and I shared this moment.
My parents were devastated by the news. That confused me a little, because they hated Kennedy. Even though my father was an Irish Catholic, Kennedy was too progressive for him. I didn’t understand how or why an assassination, the rocking of the foundations of our government, had such a profound impact on my parents. But it quickly became clear that the entire country was reeling from the news.
Most baby boomers know exactly where they were and what they were doing the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot. I was in the den in my house, wearing a pink satiny, button down bathrobe with a high white lace collar over my nightgown and watching game shows on the television until it was interrupted by horror.
Watching grown-up news, drinking my first drink out of a grown-up glass.
November 22, 1963. Three crystal clear memories seen through a crystal sherry glass.