Jessie Lilley
Buddy Barnett
Brad Linaweaver

November 2009     Web Edition     Issue #3

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Where Were You?

by Jessie Lilley

“Where were you when they shot JFK?” That was the question. It was asked time and again throughout the 60s and 70s and even sometimes into the 80s if you were “older”.

I was at the kitchen table eating a baloney sandwich with my mother’s friend June McManus (née Stefan). My mother was in the living room and had tuned the TV to some cartoon that I liked. I would be going in there to watch while Mama and June did whatever grownups do. I remember I heard my mother scream. Actually, really scream. June dropped her glass of milk and ran into the living room shouting at me to stay where I was. She ran head on into my mother who was running back into the kitchen. She said, “My God June, they shot Jack!” Then they both burst into tears. (Below is the iconic shot of legendary Walter Cronkite announcing to the nation that the President had been shot.)

Yes, I really do remember it that clearly. I was only 5 years old and that was a fairly momentous chain of events in my kitchen. Within half an hour my brother was home from school. The schools had been closed. Daddy was home from work an hour later. It was as if life stopped. Everything was very quiet at home and in the neighborhood. Everyone was safe inside and glued to their TV sets.

And life went on. I grew into a huge horror and science fiction fan and found myself reading Hunter S. Thompson to feed my political desires and eventually Stephen King for my horror fixes. I discovered Libertarianism, the ability to write stuff myself and eventually found myself in the editor’s chair of various magazines devoted to my particular joys. I’ve met many writers over the years and am always pleased to find their names plastered all over my publications as well as newsstands, bookshelves, television and film credits, ad nauseam.

I like to see my “band of literary outlaws” getting the credit they so richly deserve and am always flattered if one or the other tips a hat in my direction for whatever reason. I really have nothing to do with what they produce. I just make it look pretty and make sure they haven’t inadvertently come too close to someone else’s work. Imitation may be considered the highest form of flattery, but everyone needs a strong editor.

Wouldn’t you agree?