Notes from Class
Passage 1 – The Setting
I had left work at lunch so I could see the motorcade as it passed through the plaza. It was still early, but the area was dotted with people in shirt-sleeves. Some were wearing their sunglasses, and most were starting to turn a little red. The sky was clear except for one or two tiny wisps of cloud. The sun was a surprise, because it had rained heavily that morning, and the air was heavy with the fragrance of grass. As I crossed to Elm, so I could take a picture of the president as he passed, I noticed the rows and rows of parked cars; the city was busier than usual.
Passage 2 – The character or the motorcade
It didn’t take me long to realise I was overdressed for the occasion. Because of the rain in the morning, I had put on my rain-coat. It was long, running down to my ankles, and was bright red. Everybody looked at me as I walked across the plaza: I certainly wasn’t hard to see. But I had to take my coat because I had my camera in my pocket. I was really hoping to get a clear view of the president so I could get a good picture. Presidents don’t visit the South very often, so I really wanted to get a good clear shot.
Passage 3 – The Motorcade/ The hit
· 1961 Lincoln Continental – Dark blue
· How many cars
· Who could be seen
· Number/ position of secret servicemen
· Descriptions of ALL OF THESE THINGS
· Speed of the motorcade 11mph at the Elm St turn
· Police bikes
· Crowds shouting
The president’s car had slowed to eleven miles per hour to make the hard curve onto Elm. Dealey was full by now, with the sidewalks lined with people cheering and shouting. Kennedy wasn’t popular in the South, but everybody here loved him. He smiled from the topless car, waving to the crowd and saying “thank you” to those lining the streets who called out to him. Sitting next to him in a pink jacket and soft pink hat, Jackie was also waving, and occasionally speaking to her husband. Within minutes they would be at the Trade Mart, and their brief visit would be over. I’m not sure if I heard the crack of the shot, or saw the pigeons scatter, first. Above the School Book Depository, the bright sky was suddenly shadowed by hundreds of the birds flying upwards, and the plaza echoed with the sound of something loud and sharp. I glanced across at the Lincoln, and Kennedy had brought his fists up to his throat. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but something was clearly wrong. I skimmed the plaza again, looking for the source of the distraction: a man stood opening an umbrella; a woman in a deep red coat was throwing herself to the ground; everywhere, there were cries of fear. Maybe there was another shot. Perhaps it was two, or even three. But then, ripping through the noise, a final shot exploded. I looked back to the president’s car, only to see his head jerk backwards in a ball of blood. It was unreal. Surely this wasn’t happening?
Passage 4 – The hit/ aftermath
· Reactions in Dealey
· Where you think bullets came from?