Fifty years ago on November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assonated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas Texas. I was seven years old but I can still vividly remember standing in the grocery store when the news was broadcast over the loud speaker. And though I was too young too fully understand what that meant I was frightened by the look of complete shock and disbelief that crossed my mother’s face as the moments passed. A silent moment engulfed the entire store until I heard a woman start crying a few isles away from us.
My mother must have realized the historical significance of that event, in the next day’s Washington Post Times Herald, because she saved the first section of that newspaper which is what I’m using to write this piece. In hindsight I wish she had saved the entire paper but, for whatever reason, she did not. Obviously the top headline of the day was, President Kennedy Shot Dead; Lyndon B. Johnson Is Sworn In. And other then the letters to editor, which would have been written before the event and to this day I’m still surprised they even printed, the entire first section was devoted to the assassination and the life of a fallen leader. A few other headlines of that day where: (Pro-Castro Fort Worth Marxist Charged in Kennedy Assassination), (Johnson Assumes Duties of Office, Asks Entire Cabinet to Remain), (Kennedy, at 43, was Youngest Man Elected President), (First Catholic to Be Elected President). The rest were about President Johnson taking power or about the suspect Lee Harvey Oswald.
But the strangest article of all was only a few paragraphs long and was buried on the last page of the first section and its headline reads; Mystery Call Foretold Fate Of President. According to this story an Oxnard telephone operator in the Oxnard-Camarillo area near Los Angeles over heard a caller say, “The President is going to be killed.” This call happened fifteen minutes before the assassination took place in Dallas. The story goes on to say that two operators actually heard the female caller give her message. The following is exactly how this article was finished. And I have also included a picture of the whole small article if you’re interested in reading it though it is difficult to read because of its size? This comes straight out of The Washington Post Times Herald from that day.
Ray Sheehan, general manager of the telephone company there said: “One of our supervisors picked up the call. The caller kept on dialing although her call was connected. Then she started whispering. Another supervisor listened in and was able to hear the woman saying, “The President is going to be killed.”
The manager reported the call to the police but after the President had been shot!
I assume that at the time they could not trace phone calls like we can today. However, this story does make you wonder, doesn’t it?