President Kennedy was coming to Dallas!
As students at Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas in 1963, it was the most exciting news ever. The school chartered three buses to take the senior class downtown to see our Catholic president and his beautiful wife. This was as good as it gets. Our view wasn’t the greatest. It was on top of the Adolphus Hotel parking garage, and we were about three stories up. I was with my three best friends, Mary Anderson (now deceased), Mary Bordelon and Mary Margaret Fowler (also deceased). We were known as the Four Marys. We saw the president and Jackie go by in the topless limousine. Some of the bolder girls had managed to get to the ground level and were actually just a few feet from the limo as it went by, and had a great view. We all were giddy from the adventure, but when we got on the buses to head back to Oak Cliff and school (we were going to stop at Wyatt’s for lunch) we were stuck in a horrible traffic jam.
One of the girls had a transistor radio and she turned it on so we could hear some music. But there was no music, only the report of the shooting of the president, and that he had been hit, but no one knew how badly. We were stunned, and then we started praying for him. It seemed we were stuck in traffic forever, but it was probably just an hour or so. Then we heard the report that he had died. Everyone was crying, even me. We finally started moving, and drove through the triple underpass to Oak Cliff, arriving at Wyatt’s around 2 p.m., but no one was hungry. We all just wanted to get to our homes, be with our families, and turn on the television.
We found out later that the father of one of our classmates had actually been a witness to the assassination, and was only 20 to 25 feet away when the shots were fired. Terry Brehm’s dad, Chuck Brehm, had taken his son downtown to see the president. He was interviewed many times through the years about what he saw and experienced. Terry died about five years ago.
I was dating a boy at the time whose mother worked as a bookkeeper in downtown Dallas at a dress manufacturing plant across the street from the Texas School Book Depository building. Her boss, the owner of the dress factory, was Abraham Zapruder. She and her office mates knew he had a movie camera, and that day they insisted he should go home, get the camera, and take a movie of the president’s visit. He did as they suggested.