06/05/2013 by syrbal-labrys
Forty five years ago, I was up early in the morning on this date, taking care of my younger siblings while my parents slept in late. I’d fed them breakfast and was going to sit them down for morning cartoons.
But there weren’t any morning cartoons. Back then, the big three (CBS, NBC, ABC) was pretty much it and all three channels had news on instead of cartoons. Because Robert Kennedy had bled out his life in the wee hours before we were awake in the Midwest. My brother was having a hissy fit because he wanted to watch cartoons, and I was shushing him and showing him there were none to be found.
And I was weeping. June was always a grim month for me back then, no school and no escape from home….and it still seems as horrible to me in retrospect to recall the images flashing on the screen that morning. I really didn’t want the little kids to wake my parents, I really didn’t want to have to tell my mother another Kennedy was dead. The last time I did that on November 22, 1963, she slapped me and called me a liar.
I remember, with the sureness of youth, on that day thinking “There are no more good tomorrows.” The phrase came to me unbidden, and now? It is even harder to dismiss. Melodrama and teen-hood, I’m sure; but the enmity that took two brothers in less than five years struck me as a tolling bell on American dreams. Maybe I wasn’t as far off as I once thought?