I know where I was to the day and almost hour. I was living in Constantina, Spain. My children were about 1 1/2 and almost 3. In those days in Spain, we could afford a maid because they were very inexpensive and it was necessary since I was just learning Spanish, and this was a little town where very few spoke English.
We had a young maid, late teens, who came from a big family, was very good with children and knew how to keep the old Spanish homes clean of spiders, ants and such. Constantina is in the southern part of Spain. She was learning English as I was learning Spanish, so it was interesting to say the least. She came in to work the morning after Kennedy was killed and asked if I knew what happened, I didn’t. She told us Pres. Kennedy was killed. Spain was predominately Spanish at that time and loved Kennedy. Since we had no phone or radio (yes, you can live without them) I went over to a friends house, another lady who’s husband was in the Air Force, and she confirmed that they had heard it on the Air Force Radio station. All the Air Force were notified and went to work immediately when it happened, so the guys were all at work.
What was really wonderful about the situation were the Spanish. Not only were they very considerate, they mourned as we did. On the day of the funeral, all the Spanish TV stations carried the funeral, we went to a Spanish couples house nearby and watched with them. It was a sad time for the U.S. and the world, but the fact that the Spanish in that town were in mourning for him also, made us feel less lonely.
God Bless America and Spain
OK, today I want to tell you about the gang on East Maple St.in Skowhegan. First of all, it was a good gang, not like todays gangs. Our street was made up of older people and young couples. There were 6 of us kids, plus someone’s cousin from the next street down. We were all within 2-3 years of each other except my brother John who was 2 years younger that all of us. Mostly that worked out fine and we all played well together. However, sometimes John was just too young. I still feel guilty about this little trick we played on John one day so he wouldn’t bother us. He won’t remember, he probably was about 6.
My father built a loft in our shed to store things once he tore down the barn. There was plenty of room for us to play up there and also hide. As soon as we were tall enough to climb the ladder we were allowed to go up and play.
Now, you might think I was an angel growing up, I am afraid not. John and I had our normal squabbles about toys, and other things we wouldn’t share, I don’t remember those times. I do remember I got to sit on a chair or go to my room quite often. I should say there were 3 types of punishments at our house. If it was just squabbling, who ever started it got to sit on a chair and cool down, and some times we both had to sit, apart and quiet for 15 min or a 1/2 house, and my mother kept her eye on us. If it was fighting and someone hit someone, someone got to go upstairs to their room, I believe it was usually me, ha,ha. We had a door to the stairs and we would slam that door on the way up to our bedroom. The idea was to let us cool down until we could apologize to the other person. (After we all left home, my father fixed the cracked paneling in the door.) The third punishment was a spanking. That was when we did something dangerous like running into the road, something that could get us killed. My mother usually did the disciplining while my father was at work. She only had him punish us if it was something extremely serious. I will tell you about the one spanking I remember at another time.
Anyway, our gang was altogether one morning and decided for some reason we did not want John around. We got together, pretended to play hide and seek and John and I went to hide in the attic. After a short while, I went down to check then told him that someone was mad at him and wanted to beat him up so he should stay in the attic. Then we went off and played. When I came in at noon for dinner my mother asked where John was. That was when I remembered I had left him in the attic for an hour or two. I said I would get him, then went and told him it was safe to come down. I never did tell my mother and John thought I saved him so he didn’t say anything either. If John reads this, he won’t remember, he was too young, but I have always felt guilty for sticking him in the attic and lying to him. Sorry, John. I do love you.