The principal of my combined high school/junior high school in Massachusetts came on the school intercom the last school period to inform us President Kennedy had been shot. I was in the school library.

Shortly thereafter walking to the bus to go home, I came across a student I can only brand the “class clown” and he said the president was dead. I did not know whether to believe him or not.

During the ride home, probably for the only time in my life, I was on a school bus full of students where you could hear a pin drop.

That evening — it was a Friday — I saw hundreds of people crowd into the local synagogue. Over the weekend, I turned on the television only minutes after Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald and didn’t understand at first the chaos on the screen. I remember a newscaster saying this was the first time an actual shooting had been captured on TV.

I still remember the images of the funeral, the solemn procession down the streets of Washington, world leaders walking behind the coffin, particularly France’s Charles DeGaulle with his tall military cap.

I remember the riderless, black horse with the pair of boots attached to the saddle and turned backwards signifying the loss of the leader.

We watched all these events on a 19-inch black and white TV constantly adjusting the antenna to pull in the best signal or moving the TV around on its wheeled cart to follow events over the long weekend even as we ate in the kitchen.

A side note to these events in a six degrees of separation kind of way — years later in traveling the country with Howard Jarvis, in Chicago I believe, we came across a political event at our hotel in the run-up to the 1980 presidential election. One of the Republican candidates speaking at the event was John Connally, the former Democratic governor of Texas, who was in the car with President Kennedy that fateful day and was wounded.

His press secretary, a jovial man, spotted us at the door to the room and came over to talk and said he would try to arrange a meeting with Connally and Jarvis if he could but because of conflicting schedules it never came off.

The press secretary was James Brady who went on to become the press secretary for President Ronald Reagan and was severely wounded himself in the assassination attempt that wounded President Reagan in 1981.