- Posted February 21, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
A Child's Loss of Innocence
There are many things that can happen in life that can take away a child's innocence, a child's feeling of being safe. It's not always about physical or mental abuse either. My childhood innocence was interrupted when I was eleven years old.
It started out with me walking to school, stopping at the little store along the way and spending my lunch money on Beatles bubble gum cards. I did this just about every day. Within a few hours, my outlook on life would change forever.
It was a typical sunny day in November. I was sitting in my classroom staring at my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Sutton, whom I had a major crush on. Jerry, the blonde blue eyed class clown, had been sent to the principals office for misbehaving, typical for Jerry. Maybe ten minutes later, Jerry came running back into the classroom, he was crying and seemed panicked. Jerry walked up to Mr. Sutton and whispered something to him. Mr. Sutton didn't seem to believe Jerry but immediately called the office from the classroom phone. When he hung up he walked over to the television and turned it on just in time to hear the newscaster, Walter Cronkite, say "President Kennedy..... is dead".
As an eleven year old, those words, this news, and being where I was was devastating. I didn't know much about death, I never knew anyone that had died, it just wasn't a part of my life's experience. I started crying, thoughts of Caroline and John John raced in my head. I was embarrassed that I was crying so I ducked my head under my desk. I soon learned I wasn't the only one crying, even the boy in front of me was.
More fear came over me when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, because what came into my head was this was going to keep going and going until finally they kill every man including my dad. I was so emotional and very afraid.
When I went home from school that day the babysitter and my four siblings were there. They were all in the television room. The coverage was on all three channels. For the next three days all that was on was the coverage of Kennedy's assassination, showing the same thing until it was etched in my mind, so much so it almost felt like I was there.
Then comes the funeral, I couldn't take my eyes off of Jackie, Caroline and especially John John. I felt so bad for them. I remember asking my mother why Jackie wasn't crying, she said something about being all cried out.
I believe a part of my innocence was lost that sunny November day. A day etched in every American that was alive and old enough to understand the significance of what had just happened in America. I wondered if America could ever be the same. I knew I wouldn't be.