November 26, 1963………..#110 (the 60’s)

It was 12:30 p.m. November 22, 1963,  Gary had the television turned to WKY in Oklahoma City,  awaiting the Tom Paxton Show to begin.    Today’s guest,  the renowned duo pianist, Ferrante and Teicher.   Gary was attentive as Tom Paxton started his opening,  but coming into view,  walking towards Tom with his back to the camera was Ernie Schultz the station’s news director.   Abruptly turning,  facing the camera, with a hesitant voice making an announcement,   “We have just received a call from our Dallas affiliate,  President Kennedy has been shot,  the network will be interrupting momentarily.”

Gary’s first reflection was one of  unwarranted disbelief,  but then the network broke in.  The tragic event of President Kennedy’s death traumatized the nation,  the impact of his death would not only affect the national scene, but the lives of those close to home.

Gary’s  immediate concern was the effect this grievous event was having on his wife who was visiting his parents.  Kaye having flown to California earlier in the week with their  four-month old son  Scott,  for Gary’s sister Nancy’s wedding to Donald Crowder.   A California phone call confirming the turn of events , it was affecting the normative at the elder Willson residence, with the wedding scheduled for the 23rd and with the environment not very pleasant to begin with,  as Kaye wasn’t accustomed to the proclivity of the family.  Gary suggestion that it would be best to fulfill her round trip reservation rather than the hassle contingency of an early return.

With her arrival, Kaye wasn’t looking forward to returning to work and the prospect of despondent co-workers at the Federal Aviation Agency.  The nation in mourning,  the federal government promptly having inaugurating a thirty-day moratorium on all  celebrating events,  including live entertainment at all military installations.  The proclamation having an immediate effect on the band, the moratorium depriving the Untouchables of several crucial military base engagements.  The sudden cancellations of Military base bookings found Gary on the phone, finding some success  reaching out for engagement opportunities  from  outlying  clubs in Hairah, and  Seminole.

With the year coming to a close, the moratorium on military entertainment coming to an end, the future once again looked promising .  A New Year’s Eve booking was traditionally,  the “ill numero uno” night of the year,  a band compensated three times the normal booking fee for this festive occasion.  The Untouchables having booked  the prestigious Midwest City Country Club,  the patrons all nonpareil in their  attire,  the tables lavished with hor ‘d voor’s,  the band welcomed to partake of the surroundings. The Untouchables  looking forward to the coming year with  the return of  principal military installations at Tinker, Vance, Fort Sill, Shepard and the 10 hour excursion  to  West Texas with its air force array at Abilene, Big Springs and San Angelo.

The assassination of President Kennedy having a grievous effect on the nation,  Gary like many other young adults struggling with an introduction to the political arena, discovering the paladin of leadership abruptly removed,  having the door of their  acknowledgement slammed shut.  Overcoming the thirty-day moratorium on federally sponsored  entertainment,  was of little consequence compared to overcoming the  political vacuum left by the death of John F Kennedy,  concluding that adversity breeds character.


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