I just celebrated my 60th birthday at the end of October. I was 10 years old and a student at a Chicago public school on the day President Kennedy was shot. My school was three blocks from my home, and every day I walked home for lunch.
I remember having hot soup and a sandwich every day and watching "Bozo's Circus" before I returned to school. That day, all our teachers were crying and told us we did not have to come back that afternoon, but to go home and watch the television instead.
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Even at 10. I could relate to President Kennedy because I was Catholic and he was our first Catholic president. Now I am a teacher who has taught for may years and can see that same bonding pride in my African-American students with President Obama.
As a teacher, I felt the "surreal" only one other time, and it brought me back to exactly how I felt as a 10-year-old on Nov. 22. On Sept. 11, 2001, I pulled into the parking lot of the school I teach in and could not shut off the car radio, because I could not believe what I had just heard. I got out of my car and another teacher and I expressed our disbelief and broke down into tears. We did not know how to go in and face all of our students.
But, at that moment I thought back to all my elementary school teachers and how they tried to remain strong for all of us -- thank you all of the teachers at Lucy Fitch Perkins Elementary School in 1963 for giving me life lessons that I could pass on to my students so may years later.
Sandy (Bober) Jedrzejewski
Elk Grove Village