There was nothing remarkable about the day. I had been sitting in one of the most boring classes that I ever attended in college, just watching the clock. It was Nov. 22, 1963, and the professor was talking about “Conscience of a Conservative,” a book that was supposedly written* by Sen. Barry Goldwater (R, Arizona), who was running for the office of President of the United States in the 1964 elections. The professor was debunking all of the documentation at the back of the work. I didn’t care.
Finally, I heard the only two words that mattered to me at that time: Class dismissed. I gathered up my books, put away my pen, and rocketed out the door. Perry was waiting near the door to another classroom down the hall. I wanted to stop and visit with her for a while because, um, well I guess hormones had something to do with it. But, I was due at work. So, I just said “Hi” and continued toward the building’s exit.
Once out the doors, I walked toward the grassy knoll that separated Centennial Hall from the Spartan Bookstore at San Jose State. At the bookstore, I was in charge of the paperback section, had no regular schedule, and worked without supervision. That day, I had planned to work through my regular dinner break because I needed to make a trip to the distributor’s warehouse to restock some titles and see what was new. As it turned out, I didn’t even clock in.
In the store, there was a small crowd of employees encircling the manager’s office. There was a tiny portable TV turned toward his door, and I heard something about shots having been fired in Dallas. So what! Dallas was in Texas, and I assumed that shots were fired there on a daily basis. I didn’t know that President Kennedy was there. Before that historic day, it was sort of non-news, at least outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area...