Me in the Middle of an Ordinary Day

** Note:  This is my story.  My memory of where I was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is something I wanted to write about.  This is my attempt at telling it in third person POV and I’ve since written it in first person POV.  **

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John Kennedy Family, Jacqueline

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~ An Ordinary Day ~

It was November and an ordinary week day with not much planned except for household chores and getting ready for the upcoming holidays.  Nora’s husband had left for work leaving her with a pile of ironing to do.  She liked to set up the ironing board in the living room, facing the large bay window, so she could look out on the neighborhood.  It had been a quiet morning where she took things easy considering her pregnancy was drawing to an end and she was slowed down quite a bit.

Waiting wasn’t easy!  Over the past year she had had two miscarriages and this was her 3rd pregnancy.  All seemed to be progressing well and 22-year-old Nora could feel the lively kicks and bumps in this last stage before birth.  Her doctor wasn’t sure of an exact delivery date.  He told her to have her bag packed and ready for a trip to the hospital sometime during the holidays.

Her mind was preoccupied with these thoughts when her attention was abruptly drawn to the TV in the corner of the room.  The monotonous conversations of the scheduled show were suddenly interrupted by a brief, alarming announcement. 

“Here is a bulletin from CBS News.  In Dallas, Texas three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas.  The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.”

The announcement came and went so quickly that it almost seemed inconceivable that what Nora heard really happened.  She continued with the ironing and reflected on the memories she had of JFK over the past three years.  Her first stirrings of political awareness showed up when she went to a campaign rally at the Teaneck Armory in NJ for John F. Kennedy, who was running for President against Richard M. Nixon.  Standing outside in the massive crowd waiting for him to arrive, she and her sister came up with a chant; “Jack be nimble. Jack be quick.  Jack’s the one who’s gonna beat Dick.”  Her family was proud of the Democratic Party that was working towards electing the first Catholic President.

Both JFK and his wife, Jackie, were an inspiration for her and both gave her hope.  She felt like she knew Jackie Kennedy personally when they each went through the heartaches of miscarriages and loss.   Jackie gave her hope that one day she too would become a mother, just as her husband gave her hope that we as a country could overcome our divisions and adversities, and become greater still.

Did she really hear what she thought she heard?  The report said ‘seriously wounded’.  A feeling of dread washed over her as she thought of the possibility that the president would die.  And then it came up on the screen:

“From Dallas, Texas ~ The flash apparently official ~ President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time (2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time), some 28 minutes ago.”

There it was!  There was no denying the finality of those words.  She felt a bolt of shock pulse through her as the seriousness of what it meant sunk in.  Suddenly she felt very fearful and very much alone.  She needed to reach out to someone and dropped everything she was doing.  Nora hurried down the stairs of their 2nd floor apartment to the landlady’s apartment below.  She was relieved that she found her at home and, as soon as the door opened, she began to tremble and cry.  For the first time she said the words that she couldn’t believe:

“President Kennedy’s dead!  He was shot!”

Her landlady, who was expecting her third child, was an experienced mom who always had everything under control.  She tried to calm Nora down.  “You’ve got to think of your baby right now.  It’s important that you stay calm.”  She counseled her.  They both stood there silently and continued to watch the startling news reports as more information trickled in.

It was two days later that she watched a live report of the Dallas Police bringing Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, through the garage of the police station on the way to a more secure county facility.  There was a lot of confusion and shouting as they walked through the crowd of reporters.  She saw a man quickly approach Oswald and immediately saw a pained expression appear on Oswald’s face.  It happened so quickly there was no way to prevent it.  Nora was watching real life unfold, realizing that it was the first time she was witnessing a man being murdered.   Another urgent announcement followed that Oswald had been shot and killed by a local business man in Texas, Jack Ruby. 

Life changed for America on November 22nd, 1963 and when she stood in stunned silence watching more news unfold over the following days, Nora saw images of Jackie Kennedy, her daughter Caroline and her small son, John-John, standing by the roadside as the fallen president’s casket passed by.  An ordinary day became a tragedy and the whole world mourned the death of our president.

The weeks passed by and the country began to take steps to bring order and safety as more information was released.  The grieving and healing would begin across the country and the world. 

So too, the weeks passed by for Nora with no sign of the beginnings of labor indicating the arrival of their first born.  Christmas 1963 and New Year’s Day 1964 came and went.  The doctor reassured her that all was well and not to worry.  The previous miscarriage had made it impossible to pinpoint a due date, and the baby’s weight and progress were on target for an imminent birth.  They continued to wait ~ one day at a time ~ and then on January 22nd, 1964, exactly two months to the day of JFK’s assassination, a baby boy arrived healthy and welcomed into the family.  An ordinary day in the lives of so many others yet a cherished one for Nora.

And now, years have passed by filled with historic moments that have impacted the people of America in so many ways.  That one ordinary day, 54 years ago, continues to haunt Nora  as a reminder of  vulnerability that always lies beneath the surface.  Just as 9/11 sliced into the heart and soul of the country, so to 11/22/63 will remain a reminder that the perfect idealism of ‘Camelot’ can be shattered within one ordinary day.

11-22-63 

Sketch and writing © Mary Lou

Photo image from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

Me In The Middle Of Stretching To New Heights

Stretch to New Heights #2

Image by Mary Lou Q

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~ Stretching to New Heights ~

What is it about each of us
 that we are always exploring?
Stretching to new heights?
A hunger to be set above
 the rest ~ to be special.

It amuses me that even
 the tall, lanky giraffe
(head towering above most trees)
still seeks the new juicy leaves
 on treetops high out of reach.

You’d think she would be proud
~ this long-necked gal!
Content with the height
 she was given!
But No!

Just like each of us,
 she wants to grow MORE!
See more! Be more!
Experience all
 that this life can offer!

And my thoughts for her are;
“I wish you JOY, giraffe!”

by Mary Lou Q

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giraffe-2

Pixabay.com

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(This is just a fun post with a poem I wrote back in 1979 when I returned back to school to take some college courses and begin to move forward to improve my life in positive ways.)  ❤

Me in the Middle of Memories ~ Candy Stripers

Candy Stripers

candy-striper-iii
Teenage girls in the 50’s, who were thinking about becoming nurses, could volunteer at the hospital as a Candy Striper.  I came across my service badge ~ Holy Name Hospital (Our Lady’s Service).  It sparked a lot of memories for me …….. so long ago …….. and so many changes since then.
 
Badge Candy Striper 1950s

Photo by mlq

I remember well the day that I received the badge!  We were all gathered in the auditorium at Holy Name for the Service Ceremony …….. and Pat Boone, the 50’s pop singer, gave each of us our badge and a rose.  He and his family lived in Teaneck where the hospital was located.  We all wore pink and white striped pinafores which is where the name Candy Striper came from.

Pat Boone ~ April Love

(I was a Rick Nelson fan, myself.  😉 )

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The responsibilities I was given as a volunteer included sterilizing the baby bottles in the autoclave,and cleaning the circumcision boards and baby bassinets after each use.  I would string the alphabet beads on elastic cord to make the ID bracelets for mother and baby.  The Maternity Ward was a happy place for a fifteen-year-old Candy Striper as she went about refilling water pitchers with fresh water and delivering flowers and mail to the new moms.  More than any hope of becoming a nurse, I dreamed of one day holding my own newborn.

Maternity Ward Candy Striper

*Images by Pixabay*

Me in the Middle of Inktober 2018

I Survived Inktober 2018

This month has been an eventful month!

I had a medical set-back that sent me to the emergency room a few months back and was soon diagnosed with AVNRT which is a form of Supraventricular Tachycardia.  A Cardiac Ablation was scheduled for October 15th and while waiting for that date, my activity level took a nose dive.

Then I heard about Inktober 2018 and decided it would be a great way to pass the time and fight the boredom.  It would calm my pre-surgery fears and also give me a buffer-zone against the ugly, stressful developments in our country’s politics.  The challenge is to come up with an ink-sketching idea based on a daily prompt.  Here’s the video that explains Inktober much better than I could:

How to Do Inktober

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So all went well with the Cardiac Ablation and I’m just completing my recovery with a good report from the doctor.  I also finished all 31 days of Inktober and feel pretty good about it.  Take a look at my sketches.  Maybe you’ll join us next year for Inktober 2019?

Week One ~ Oct 1st thru 7th

 

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Week Two ~ Oct 8th thru 14th

 

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Week Three ~ Oct. 15th thru 21st

 

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Week Four ~ Oct. 22nd thru Oct 30th

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And HAPPY HALLOWEEN ~ Enjoy a Margarita on me!! 

(I’d love to know which sketch you liked the best!  Leave your choice in comments!)

Day 31 Slice #3

Me In The Middle of Being a Single Mom

 

DSCN3199 (6)

© Mary Lou Q

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“Everything comes to us that belongs to us, if we create the capacity to receive it.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

This path of mine has brought me to and through so much that has given my life meaning, richness and purpose.  I want to apply all that I’ve learned ~ I want to create within myself the capacity to receive all that belongs to me with open arms and open heart.

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One of my sons shared with me a memory of when he was a teenager.  He told me that when he saw the movie ~ E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, ‘the Mom from E.T.’ reminded him of me.

I remembered the movie and how the message captivated all of us during the early Eighties.

“Turn on your heartlight.  Let it shine wherever you go.”

Click here to listen ♥ :  Heartlight ~ Neil Diamond ~ E.T.

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“The Mom from E.T.” was a single mom raising her children during that time just as I was.  So I googled to refresh my memory and learn more about her.  It was a time for me when building a sense of safety and security for my family was very important to me and E.T. touched my heart.

What I found in my google search was a video of an interview with Dee Wallace (The Mom from E.T.) reflecting back thirty years and how the movie continued to touch the hearts of people down through the years.  What I loved is how she sees the movie as a call to Love instead of Fear and Hate.  Speaking of how 9/11 has affected all of us, she expressed her own desire to see us recapture that belief that there’s more goodness in the world than there is evil:

“If we continue to live in the fear and the protecting that it made us build up, we stop creating who we are… we shut all our light down… and then love isn’t prevalent …. and then we literally begin creating the world we don’t want.  If you want a world of love, you’ve got to be love.”

I see this as true at both a national level and at a personal level.  It was the conclusion I came to as a single mom facing the challenges ahead of me and recovering from abandonment that made things look very hopeless.  If I continued to live in the fear and the protecting that it made me build up, I would have stopped creating who I was… shutting down my light… and love wouldn’t have prevailed.  Instead of creating a sense of love and support within my family, it would have begun to create a world I didn’t want.  I wanted my children to come through with a sense of acceptance and belonging which they deserved, and not a sense of being outcasts because they weren’t in a ‘whole’ family.

So. as I stand upon this mountaintop overlooking the possibilities ahead of me at this time in my life, I recall the message of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.   I hope to be able to have the courage to speak and act in a way that truly represents what I’ve come to believe.    

“Turn on your heartlight ~ Open your heart ~ Keep the light on ~ You are the light.” 

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