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THE ZAPRUDER EFFECT

By Eva Pasco

JFK MotorcadeThe Zapruder Film as defined by my run-on sentence is as follows: the 26 second, silent, 8 mm, color, home movie of  thirty-fifth president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, during his presidential motorcade in a 1961 midnight blue Lincoln with the bubble top removed and bulletproof side 

 
windows rolled down, inching through Dealy Plaza, Elm St., Texas, on November 22, 1963; filmed by private citizen, Abraham Zapruder, it is the most complete visual recording of JFK's assassination, signifying the end of a mythical Camelot.   
  
JFK's assassination and the sequence of events to follow would leave imprints in our minds impervious to heat, moisture, or chemical breakdown--the Zapruder Effect. Jackie's pink suit, her stately composure, John John's salute, and the cadence of the funeral procession are part of our repertoire, though the real Zapruder reel is that of the 8 mm chronology played out for each of us old enough to recall that ill-fated day in history --our own "grassy knoll," if you will.  
  
In 1963 I was a seventh grader at Lincoln Junior High. Last period of the day, right up until dismissal, would capture footage of me in Social Studies.  I sat in the third seat of the second row from the window flanked by Martha in front of me, Nancy to my left, Lois to my right, and Kay behind me.  Before class officially started, we'd trade gossip and pass jokes to insulate us from the regimen and rigors perpertrated by a teacher who must have laid claim to OCDs.  Mr. B made sure our rows were aligned before initiating instruction and during lessons, often stopping mid-sentence to correct any misalignment in the aisles.  He'd frequently adjust his tie, clear his throat, and smooth the lone strand of hair over his bald pate in no particular order.  By rote, each of us read a paragraph from our history books, followed by discussion and discourse.   
  
12:30 CST, 1:30 EST in Rhode Island: a shot was fired at JFK's limousine.  Shortly thereafter, our principal made an announcment over the PA system which created a shock wave in the classroom and visibly upset Mr. B...  
  
Dismissal occured at 2:15, and I boarded my bus as usual.  Si, our  bus driver, a regular no-hassle, go-with-the-flow sorta guy, tuned his radio to rock n' roll, talked chicks with the guys, tolerated loudness, and permitted smoking in his caboose. He could get tough when he needed to and no one gave him any guff.  The bus rolled past the junior high, made it through the redlight at the cross section, and crawled along Great Road.  
  
1:00 CST, 2:00 EST: Assistant Presidential Press Secretary, Malcolm Kilduff made his press announcement.  "President John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1 p.m. Central Standard Time today here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain. I have no other details of the assassination."  
  
I remember Si pulling the bus over to the side of the narrow, rural, country bumpkin thoroughfare of Great Road. Bare bony tree branches scraped along the windows until the bus came to a halt.  Si, got out of his seat, adopted the uncharacteristic persona of a parson, signalled for silence and got it quick. Without ceremony, the man at the helm announced that President Kennedy had just died and we'd all better say a prayer.   
  
The tragic event that felled a president only two years in office would scar the Kennedy family and shake America to its core. This political assassination created its own Zapruder effect as each of us bowed our heads in silence, for who knows, maybe  26 seconds...enough time to replay the surreal events of November 22, 1963 from the perspective of a twelve year old, forever preserved in the archives of my mind.  
 

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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco

 

 

 Signed copies of the Paperback, 40 % off suggested retail, may be acquired at the Authors Den Signed Bookstore via Eva’s web page: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

 

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