Remembering JFK's assassination, a 50 year reflection

(AP Photo/William C. Allen, File)

In a game of Rummikub at the Hoover Senior Center, no topic is off limits.

But Friday's topic had historical value.

"I was 17-years-old," Esther Plaza said.

Plaza remembers.

"You would walk down the streets and people were in another world," she said.

She was in a Puerto Rico movie theater when she heard the news. The manager walked in and turned the picture off.

"He needed to tell us that President Kennedy had been shot and he had died," Plaza said.

Unreal, she thought. She had just met the president.

"I remember shaking his hand," she said.

It was at an airport a few months earlier.

"I remember going home that day and telling my mom and my dad 'I will never wash that hand!'," she said. "I touched the President of the United States."

Rummikub partner, Lois Avery, was at home that day.

"And I was ironing a pair of blue jeans," Avery said.

She remembers searching for answers that never came.

"You felt so empty," she said. "I felt empty to know that somebody would do that."

50 years later one question still remains heavier than most..."Why?"

"It was kind of difficult to believe that this man who had so much charisma and so much energy that had been killed," Avery said.

But to this day, Avery and Plaza say they have found comfort in knowing John F. Kennedy was a president for the people.

"He had the nation's heart in his mind to do something for the people," Avery said.