President’s Day…November 22…always President’s Day, to me. A boy, twice as tall, twice as wide as the rest of us, kindof a bully, came through the door just after lunch and said “the president was shot” as he strolled to his seat. Several of us got mad –it was not funny. He stared at us, silently.
I knew where the President was that day; no, not imagined later, I used to listen to the radio as I got dressed for school. So popular was he, they used to tell the President’s schedule every day. I remember thinking ‘why would a person from Washington go there, what’s in Dallas.’ Not long after the principle announced on the PA that buses were in front, ready to take us home…it was true then…school, supermarkets, businesses, stock market –every thing in the country closed, everyone went home…. Those who didn’t like the Democrats, didn’t like the Catholic religion –the intelligent, the Irish or the rich or the powerful –melted away…. The shock, so huge it couldn’t be taken in, understood…why…who was next…why…. It was stunning –to see adults –grown, stuffy kinds of men –weep, openly… whole country wept. The sadness…the fear…the grief…paralyzing, for four days.
No one had any answers, though no one (that I knew) dared turn off the TV, which, for the first time, stayed on the air non-stop, covering the story, without any commercials…without any answers. We were compelled, some how, to watch the film, of the crude Vice President, inside a plane…I wondered: where did he find a judge…I thought it was mean: made the First Lady, still wearing blood-soaked suit… stand next to him, she looked haunted, scared…as he was sworn in as President…it seemed so wrong to look at her…he, we intruded. The First Lady had a right, I thought, to be private. When no one could stand any more: more happened.
Though most people, I learned later, claimed to have seen it, very few were actually watching TV when it happened –one of my parents was watching, yelled out. We couldn’t understand my mother, as she yelled-cried-told what she saw –had she lost her mind? –the person acused of the murder was himself shot –on camera –in the Dallas police station. No one no one could explain…anything.
Leaders from nearly every country…flew to Washington…then walked, hatless, together…. Stories, documentaries about that day always show John-John saluting, unknowingly, as his father’s caisson passes. But that is not the image, the one…unbearable… not the Scotts in kilts playing bagpipes, hard enough, nor the drums…but the scene, probably few had ever seen, that took whatever one had left: a horse…a rider-less horse, saddle turned backwards….
That murder…I monitored all three networks, as I do every year, to see: only CBS acknowledged the date, on the nightly news. People not around then, have NO inkling…twenty-somethings, new neo-cons: Clueless. The whole country: on the Same side. Hell, the whole world suddenly considered themselves “American” then…the world mourned. The US is the way it is, now, in so many ways, because of that murder…. The other two networks –couldn’t be bothered?
How was the date acknowledged in Los Angeles? A person who blew into town from somewhere else, six years ago: used the day –to heap “glory” –on himself. LAUSD, in its ‘infinite’ “wisdom” got into a hissy-fit contest with the butt of New York city jokes, D. Trump. When it was over, last one standing over-paid to get hold of last important Los Angeles landmark, the Ambassador Hotel. LAUSD wrested it from Trumpy then, eventually, tried to ‘unload’ their prized white elephant. No takers.
Ultimately: “Super” of LA schools ignored LA Conservancy, the Mayor, hundreds of thousands of residents and his own friends –who all pleaded with Roy Romer, to get his closed little mind out of its tiny home –to create a unique school –that taught history —in historical site…where kings, Nobel laureats, leaders of every country, Einstein, glamorous film stars of every decade, presidents once slept, dinned, danced, swam; where teachers could also live, low cost; visiting teachers put up in hotel rooms; district meetings held, for free –high-end & low-income condos could generate revenue…and a place for proms –a ballroom, the once-great Coconut Grove –that could make money –for more schools? Nope. Roy Romer –acknowledge –the date —any thing he did –to prevent such a special school? Nah, not for the buzz-saw.
…Celebration…Roy Romer gleefully used in-denial children of Robert F. Kennedy and his ego to bulldoze the Ambassador Hotel. “Successfully” gutted, shredded, on November 22 Romer, indifferent to the date, celebrated destruction of last important Los Angeles landmark: Romer put a shovel into toxic dirt, smiled, preened pretty for the invited cameras, as the willing children of Robert F. Kennedy watched what they had wrought, on Romer-claimed anniverary of their father’s birth. (RFK born: November 20 , 1925, not the 22nd.)
Robert Kennedy’s children imagine it will work? –The hotel –the kitchen, site of their father’s murder five years later, destroyed, their father will be less dead…? People born, raised in another state get to decide for local residents –which landmarks kept –decide what is important –decide which memories irrelevant? Does that work the other way –Los Angelenos get to decide –Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts use –better as a hospital for returning troops and tear it down?
They all ‘stirred’ the ‘pot’ with local weenies, wannabe polititians, who in turn used ignorant parents and union money to get where they wanted to go. ‘It’s the Ambassador Hotel OR a school.’ Ignorant parents and “their” lawyers ‘bought’ it. When LA Conservancy members walked the neighborhood, showed parents the plans, the facts, parents begged Romer, et al to LEAVE the Hotel –create a school of the Hotel –for future children, since Romer and his LAUSD sycophants somehow forgot to mention: NO current child will be attending any school there any time soon. Too late.
The photo op rolled out –his “honor” –“hero” –where the Ambassador Hotel once stood, a semi-motel design school will rise. –Just as soon as they figure out –how to clean up the toxic waste –discovered after the bulldozing, but, mysteriously, not during the “extensive” EIR…. Ohwell, duh.
Roy Romer: ‘improver’ of education? He used some of his Bored-member granted $1 million slush fund to: make pricey graphs, that “detailed” –six whole per cent of some students, somewhere got “more” –of something. Then Romer and his carpetbag and his ego and his arrogance and his little mind and his bloated salary thankfully, blew outta town, leaving Los Angeles and future children worse off. Have pity –for those wherever he lands next.
Murder…mayhem…dreams…destruction. If every male in (Vice President Lyndon Baines) Johnson family had lived a normal life…not all died young, of heart disease: would President Kennedy have lived? The murder changed the country… changed me…. When John F. Kennedy was murdered I knew: there were things I would never understand.
tag: President’s Day, John F. Kennedy, November 22 1963, presidential murder, Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD, Ambassador Hotel, Roy Romer, Superintendent Romer, LA School board