On November 22, 1963 John F Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. It was a bright fall day in a good sized city. He was surrounded by Secret Service, Dallas police officers, and crowded streets of observers. In a limousine moving slowly along a city street, the top removed to allow crowds a good view of the young president, his wife seated beside him, he was publicly gunned down. Within hours an employee of The Texas School Book Depository, a building on the route, was arrested. Lee Harvey Oswald was a 24-year old former Marine. On November 24th, just days later, before he could be tried, Oswald was shot by a local strip club owner, Jack Ruby. Thus began a mystery that continues to plague many US citizens to this day.
I was ten years old when the assassination took place. I watched the television news on our old black and white television, rabbit ears atop the set capturing signals from the air and relaying events surrounding the tragedy. I was watching when Jack Ruby stepped out of a crowd in the basement of a Dallas police station and shot Lee Harvey Oswald on national television. I was ten years old and I watched a man be murdered before my eyes. Even the funeral procession, the wife and children of our fallen leader, and the throngs that passed through the capitol to pay respects did not affect me as strongly as that moment of murder did. The Zapruder film, the film taken by a local dress manufacturer, had not been released to the pubic yet. In fact I doubt the public even knew it existed at that point.
Years went by and life went on. My attention was drawn away by other things, more personal things. I grew up, got married, had children, got divorced, and moved to another state. During that time I had heard something about a New Orleans district attorney who was charging someone with conspiracy in the murder of Kennedy. It was shortly before my 16th birthday when the trial began. It passed my attention but did not hold it. I had serious teenaged issues to deal with. However in 1991 I once again became aware of the trial of Clay Shaw. The Oliver Stone movie “JFK” was released.
For the next few years I occasionally read articles about the assassination, the accused assassin, the trial, and conspiracy theories. Little by little I began to believe some of those theories. Maybe it was then the story I have written was conceived.
What would have happened if Lee Harvey Oswald had not been murdered? How could the police have been so careless to have permitted it to happen? Suppose he had been brought to trial? Better yet, suppose he had escaped the police somehow and gone into hiding?
Then I created other scenarios. Suppose someone assumed the identity of Oswald? Suppose someone believed he was Oswald? Suppose others came to believe he was Oswald? So many ideas; so many plots.
In March 2013 I had the opportunity to visit Dallas and the Sixth Floor Museum, formerly the Texas School Book Depository. It was there, as I looked from one of the windows at white “X’s” that had been painted on the street below indicating where the fatal shots had landed that the idea was born.
I have spent the last year writing a novel based on those events. I hope to have it published by the end of the summer 2014. It is a work of fiction motivated by the many questions raised by people who believe there was a conspiracy to assassinate President John Kennedy and Lee Oswald was in fact a “patsy” accused of the crime.
Following is a portion of the story. I hope it arouses your curiosity.
“…I want to know. I want to know the truth. If going to Dallas brings me closer to that truth then I’m going to go.” I said the last part firmly.
My hand was still in Bill’s and I felt his hand shake slightly. “No one will ever know the truth about any of that Olivia. Maybe in the future some of the story will come out. But as long as even one of the people involved is still alive the truth will stay buried. You need to forget about it all.”
“I can’t. I won’t. I’m sorry.”
We sat like that for a few minutes. It seemed like a long time. Then in a voice that was barely audible Bill said, “I can’t let you go alone. I have to go with you.”
Something in his tone sounded so defeated. He looked older in that moment; older, more worn, tired, and maybe even a little frightened. “You don’t have to do that.”
“Yes I do, I do. And you have to let me.” He let go of my hand then and took our coffee cups to refill them. “We need to figure out when we need to leave, how we’re going to go. I haven’t traveled in a long time.” As he set my cup in front of me he half smiled. “I need a trip too.”
I studied him closely. Something had changed but I couldn’t figure out what. Bill seemed almost resigned, as though this was a disaster he had been putting off for some time. It occurred to me he might have a fear of travelling. The fact was he didn’t drive; perhaps he had an accident when he was younger and it made him skittish.”