I was a senior in college at the University of Rhode Island. I was in an English lit class, the professor was a Dr. Goldberg, who was probably 45 years old. We were reading William Butler Yeats' poem, "Leda and the Swan." I was sitting next to my friend, Dottie, whom I had known since seventh grade. The English Department secretary came into the room and told us that the president had died. Dr. Goldberg, put his book on the desk and started to cry. It was the first time that I had ever seen an adult man cry! I was 21 years old. He took off his glasses and cried. He just raised his arm and waved us out of the room.
I remember the great sense of loss and aloneness as Dottie and I crossed the quadrangle and went back to our sorority house. Everyone wanted to be with someone, yet there was so little you could do. We huddled in front of the TV for four days. I still see my friend Dottie at least once a year at our sorority reunions. We still talk about that day in 1963, when adult men cried and we wandered across a stunned and shocked campus, looking for a place to be with people we knew.
What I learned that day is that adult men do not always have to be stoic and we all need each other when days are dark. Some actions are so hideous, you cannot even speak about them. This was one of those actions.