The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 22, 2013

Clintonians share their memories of Nov. 22, 1963


"I was driving down Fifth Avenue South and saw the flag at the post office was at half staff," he said. "It hit me: 'He's really dead.'"

Patty Larkin Wolf, who grew up in Clinton and now lives in Conway, Ark., also clearly remembers the day, the impact it had on her family and how it led her to send her condolences to Kennedy's daughter.

"I am the same age as Caroline Kennedy. I walked home from morning kindergarten at Lincoln School in Clinton," she said. "Our living room drapes were drawn, which was unusual for the middle of the day.

"My mom was on her knees with her legs tucked under her, in front of our black and white TV. I knew something was the matter because she never watched TV. I joined her on the floor as she told me President Kennedy had been shot.

"It was a big deal in our family when he was elected as we were Irish Catholic, too. I remember feeling very sad for Caroline. I wrote her a letter telling her that I was sorry about her dad. I remember everything about that sad day."

Phyllis Mayer of Clinton was 23 when JFK was killed and says she will always remember where she was when she heard the news.

"I worked at the old Curtis Company in South Clinton," she said. "The girls and I were at lunch and our boss, Harry Waters, came back from lunch and informed us. We were very shocked and sad and it was a sad time for all."

Elaine Heisterkamp was at Clinton's Washington Junior High, walking from Modern Math to Spanish class.

"We were told to collect our things and go straight home," she said. "The President of the United States had been killed. I remember leaving school and walking to 625 Fourth Ave. in disbelief."

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