My Century Home Page
Jeff Franzen. I'm originally from Dallas, Texas. I was born in 1957.
And I was going to tell you about my mother's birthday on November
I have a large family - five older brothers and sisters. And they
were all in school. But I had yet to start first grade. So my mother
and father, since it was my mother's birthday, had invited me to
spend the day with them. Dad took the day off from work.
had anticipated going down town to go shopping at Neenham Markets,
a big department store in Dallas at that time - it still is.
was a big parade in town, because President John F. Kennedy was
in Dallas that day. Traffic was very difficult anywhere. So as a
result, my parents and I decided to park on the outskirts of Dallas
and wait for the parade to go through.
We tried to get actually near the parade route, but it was so crowded
that we ended up just at the very end of the parade route, near
what is called the Triple Bypass in Dallas.
And, as it was a nice day, my father and I had a ball and we were
playing catch in the grass and just having a great time.
could hear the noise of the crowd start to reach a little more of
a crescendo, and it was obvious something was getting closer. So
we all stopped and my mother and father and I came close to the
street. And you could actually see one of the first cars of the
parade and the motorcycle policemen come around the corner. And
then the main limousine, carrying the President and the then Governor
of Texas, John Connolly, came also right in front of us, coming
down the street from our right.
they started coming down the hill, they slowed a little bit. And
you could hear a loud pop, which to me at the time sounded like
firecrackers. Being a young child, I felt like it was just part
of the parade and fireworks and confetti. And then it proceeded
- the car came even closer to us, which was by then maybe less than
ten to fifteen yards away. And there was another pop of firecrackers.
And this one - there was a great deal of what I thought at the time
was confetti, just exploding from the car. I subsequently learnt,
much later, that this was obviously President Kennedy being shot,
and the confetti was actually his head - the front of his skull
and the brains, in retrospect, going up into the air.
Fortunately, even to this day, it didn't have the horrible effect
on me that it quite possibly would have, if I had been a little
bit older. Certainly it did on my mother and father. That's probably
the thing I remember most - instantly my mother just bursting into
tears and crying.And
that was the first time I think I'd really seen my mom completely
break down crying.
the explosion, the President's wife - she was dressed in a very
bright pink dress, and she had a lot of red roses in her lap, too;
which was also confusing, because it was a mixture of the President
and the blood and all the mess and then her pink dress and the flowers
- she immediately panicked. And at that point she jumped up and
tried to climb out of the back of the vehicle, when a secret serviceman
came running from the vehicle right behind. And he just barely jumped
on the car as the driver was accelerating, and was able to push
Jacqueline Kennedy back into the seat.
thereafter, things started to go a little crazy. And that's when
my father pulled us down to the ground and covered us up.