It was a Friday afternoon and I was taking a Latin test in my junior year at Saint Vincent Prep School in Latrobe. We were in Father Augustine's classroom. It was the end of an academic quarter, and the weekend would be spent on retreat at our residence at Saint Joseph Hall Minor Seminary.
There was a knock on the door and as Father Augustine opened it he was told by some upper class men that the president had been shot. At first he did not believe them (there was always some fooling around), but when they came back he finally accepted the news. Telling us to finish and then leave class, many of us went to the art room of Father Emeric (where there was a small TV) and watched the news until our bus came to take us back to Saint Joe's. I remember the short ride - silence. We were allowed to watch the news for a portion of the evening.
Our cooks were a group of Sisters, the Ivrea Sisters, who had come from Italy for this ministry. I remember helping Sister Johanna, who could barely speak English, setting the tables with tears streaming down her cheeks.
I do not remember the retreat or who gave it, but I do remember watching Oswald being shot (and realizing that this was not a TV show, but real life - a sobering realization) and as the weekend continued, the funeral. They are memories and images and emotions that remain fresh after fifty years