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by Chris Sorrenti

 photo JohnFKennedyOfficialWhiteHousePortrait_zpsb595ce16.jpg

Dear Mr. President
Just want you to know
On this the fiftieth anniversary
Of your untimely passing
You turned my childhood upside down

Of course
Being only six years old
I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about
Living in Trenton, Ontario, Canada
And New York State just across the lake
We got mostly American channels
Thanks to the antenna on the roof
Everybody had them
For as you may recall
There was no cable TV in those days

And Mr. President
All I knew was my favourite cartoons
Had become something called pre-empted
Dad’s airbase was put on full alert
Mom doing a poor job of holding back tears
And I couldn’t figure out why
Except that it had something to do with you
They tried to explain
But like Air Force One
With your body, Jackie, L.B.J. sworn in
Heading back to Washington
It flew far over my head

Now fifty years later
Like so many others
I’ve grown up and out of that age of innocence
Become an amateur historian and news addict
In part or perhaps wholly due
To that fateful day in Dallas
The world and my childhood changed forever
When you taught me indirectly
That Life can’t always be a cartoon

 photo TVAntennabyChrisSorrentiOttawaCanada2001RED50_zps5851b35b.jpg

© 2013
Revised © 2019
Top photo courtesy of the Net
Bottom photo © 2001 by author

940 hits as of October 2021


Posted on 11/23/2013
Copyright © 2021 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 11/24/13 at 07:15 PM

Lost most of my childhood innocence that day....sitting in my second grade classroom Ridgecrest Ele. Sch. Amarillo Texas, watching live on TV with my teacher and classmates.....very shocking to witness...all in tears....teacher turned tv off....school was let out early....I'll never forget...burned in my brain forever....many questions without answers....trying to understand.....I did not care about the cartoons...I just wanted to be outside.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/24/13 at 11:03 PM

Everyone's memory of this seems unique and indelible, Chris. Thanks for sharing yours. I liked how you wrote about the cartoons being pre-empted, something even a small child would know has special meaning.

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