Gary Rinsem

JFK Shot!

She instantly saw conspiracy in the ignorant act of a confused mind.

I was five years old when JFK was shot. It's the only thing on TV today. Today is the tenth anniversary and I can't believe how young I was ten years ago. I was sitting on the sofa, I think it was the hill street house in Mankato, but I'm not sure. I was curled up on the sofa watching TV when a man started talking, no face, just his voice. He said the president was shot and I've always wondered if I was mature for my age because I understood everything that meant. I knew who the president was and what it meant for him to be shot. I felt bad for his family and worried for the country. Most of all, I remember the crazy screaming of a woman in the room. She kept screaming "They shot him. They shot him" over and over. I don't really remember the woman or know for sure who she was. I remember she was hysterical and holding a vacuum cleaner while standing behind me, staring at the TV for a very long time. Each news update for hours she started screaming again. I think she was older, black, named Mabel and our combination nanny and housekeeper. I owe my earliest real memory to Mabel's hysterical period ten years ago when JFK was killed. I would have forgotten Mabel and JFK if she stayed cool about it.