My 'New' Friend*
Black Friday, Indeed
In thr fall of 1963 I was a freshman at the University of California at Santa Barbara, living on campus in Las Casitas dorms which were recycled from once was WW2 era officer's barracks (soon to be torn down). My custom in those days was to get up early and check Campus Cove for waves before breakfast at the Dining Commons across campus and catch a few glassy early morning waves if there was a good swell running. As a result of this it was common for me to have a nap between my morning and afternoon classes, if I had any afternoon classes.
On Friday, November 22 I was asleep in my room when my roomie Jack, always a joker, woke me and said the President had been shot in Dallas. Of course I didn't believe him no matter how much he professed he was telling the truth. Of course before long everybody else, including the radio was backing up Jack's story and it was like I grew up that afternoon. A few weeks before I had, as required, registered for the draft, little realizing how that would become a real issue involving an 11 year legal battle with the US Department of Justice (that I won in the end) and my dissallusion with my country when I found out things like US Attorneys would perjure themselves in court and the guarantee of a phone call if arrested wasn't necessarily so, among many other disappointments that would follow clear through to the state of politics in both Canada and the USA today.
The walk to dinner across campus that evening was dark and quiet as was dinner. Indeed the entire next few days were like a dark period while time stood still until sometime later the next week classes started and weekends became a time to party rather than mourn.
A stramge little example of ironic serendipity occurred years later. It was sometime in the mid-seventies an I was with my musical group playing in a coffee house in a small town in the Kootenays. I bought something that evening and among my change, even though I was in Canada, I received a Kennedy half-dollar. I hadn't realized until I was looking at the surprising coin in my hand that indeed that Friday or Saturday was actually November 22. It seemed almost spooky when I realized what day it was.......I mean JFK fifty cent pieces weren't all that common even in the USA, much less a little mountain Kootenay village.
* I used this title because just this morning, after fifty years, I learned (or maybe relearned) that Paul Simon wrote The Sounds of Silence on this day after he learned of the murder of JFK.