sandclan wrote:Reading this .....Left me speechless, with that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach.
It took me back to when I was a kid sitting in front of the T.V. wondering what happened
to my regular programming, and wondering why my Mom was crying as she was watching
the news story unfold ......
The years have dulled the feelings I had at the time. But our teacher at Second Street Elementary School, Jack Taylor, didn't pull any punches. He was Vice Principal and the "two years from retirement" Principal, Mr. Wallace, came in two or three times with updates as he was listening to CKNW in his office. I still remember hearing one word as he whispered in my teacher's ear: "Fatal". Mr. Taylor explained to our class what had happened.
All the students were sent home at or just before lunch and told not to come back. It was Friday, so that meant Monday morning. The next time I saw the school, the flag was at half mast, where it stayed until JFK was buried.
I spent my day glued to the coverage on television. I dug through the last few days of Vancouver Provinces that hadn't been thrown out yet, to try and get some feeling for "normal" coverage of JFK before the event. One was on his penchant for doodling. I also suddenly remembered a Candid Camera epiosde I'd seen in the last year. Allen Funt asked the question: "Who is Lyndon Johnson?" And he went through hundreds of New Yorkers in his on the street interviews. And no one knew he was Vice President of the country they lived in.
But mostly I want to speak to how Canadians felt about the U.S. at that time. At least in Greater Vancouver. Although there was certainly a lot of Protectionism in terms of trade, there wasn't any malice that I could find, at least among the adults and children that I knew, and what I read in newspapers and heard on the radio and television. Either just before or after the death of JFK.
Canadian University graduates generally gave equal weight to job offers from the U.S. or Canada. In my own case, my father's U.S. job offers came a few years after he graduated, when I was already on the scene. He and my mother decided that they didn't want to risk me being drafted when I hit 18. But many of his friends did take those offers and did very well for themselves.
Companies didn't necessarily group their offices along national borders. My father's New Westminster employer was grouped with the larger Seattle plant, and I think there was also a smaller Portland office in the grouping, too. My father spent a lot of time on trips to Seattle, even being asked to help out on Washington, Oregon and perhaps Idaho customers from time to time. Most company picnics were combined affairs held in Birch Bay.
As Brian says, no one at KMEN cared whether he was a Canadian when it was time to pick someone to work on the JFK coverage. Of course, Vancouverites disliked certain attributes of some Americans. But they also disliked some attributes of some folks from Central Canada.
Perhaps the best way to explain how Vancouver folks felt about the U.S. is to relate it to the large numbers that identified with San Francisco, feeling that Vancouver was the San Francisco of Canada. That is perhaps best demonstrated by the words of Bill Bellman at the time, which takes us back to Radio. When promoting CHQM-FM publicly in those years, he often talked about those Vancouver radio listeners who bought themselves an FM receiver and good quality outdoor antenna, and listened to FM stations from San Francisco. Even more telling, Bellman didn't hide the fact that he had modeled CHQM AM & FM after KABL San Francisco.