Saturday, June 7, 2008

Remembering Bobby: "Shared Memory Alert!"

Art Bicknell
Oh, oh, oh! Shared Memory Alert! (and WE hadn’t even met, yet!). 1964—you’re in seventh grade, I’m in eighth. On the morning of RFK’s stopover, my friend Larry Heath (a staunch Nazarene and Goldwater supporter, following his parents’ lead, of course) gave me a bottle of candy pills proscribed to “chronic loud mouths” (I’d been following him around for days quoting passages from LBJ’s “My Hope for America”—God, I was obnoxious). I remember we all (well, not Larry) gathered in DeWitt Park, across the street from the school. I don’t recall having to get parental approval. I don’t recall his car or any kind of motor brigade—just dozens of us swarming all around as Bobby shook one hand after another—including mine. I remember he was smaller and skinnier than I’d imagined, and that his teeth were very yellow. (He must have been a heavy smoker). My friend Eddie Hart lost his footing, got trampled, and never managed to get a handshake. I remember feeling bad about that. I wrote all about this event in my 1964 diary (still have it), which also includes a tracing of the big toe of my left foot, age 13.

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