June 19, 2018
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Comments for: Tips for helping children to cope in the aftermath of Newtown

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  • It was a Friday in November of 1963. The world stopped, shook, and then returned to its regular rotations. I was 14, my younger brother was 11, and my little sister was 7.

    The principle of the private school I attended came into my History class and said: “They’ve shot the god damn president…Go home.”

    The seventy four students of Robert Louis Stevenson were dismissed into a New York City distinctly different from the one they experienced on the way to school that morning. Buses had stopped mid route, people looked like the folks we saw on newsreels walking around London after the Germans bombed it the first time. Old black shoe-shine men were crying, women were hugging each other and crying. I walked from Central Park West and 74th to Grand Central and saw not one dry eye.

    The trains to Westchester were all late, the conductors did not collect tickets, and the train missed several stations including mine. I stuck a dime in the pay phone, but couldn’t get an operator. I walked home feeling like a bit Player in “War of the Worlds.” I wouldn’t have admitted it then, but I was scared. The adults who seemed to be able to handle everything were in a State of collapse, and I had no idea why. Sure the president (a somewhat mythical figure to me) was dead, but what did that mean? were we all going to be overrun by the Russians? Was the next “duck and cover” going to be real instead of just a drill? Was life as I knew it over?

    When I got home, I found my father waiting for me. He had assembled the family in our living room, and he planned a talk.

    “You know” he said this is the week we usually go to our house in Cape Cod for Thanksgiving. Well, Tonight I came home early and Got our new car from Sholz Buick.

    I know that the rest of the world is going to be grieving the loss of our president, but We are going on with our usual routine. Our family still has a lot to be thankful for,

    …and so we went on with our yearly routine which made my fear go away… but in my garage, 49 years later sits the rusting hulk of that sixty three Buick Sword. Sort of like my personal security blanket. My secret is; I sometimes sit in it when things get rough outside.

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