On a pink suit

When I saw her in her pink suit, it, of course, looked to be a medium shade of gray. She was a grown woman, I was but a child of four. The tragedy unfolding before my eyes was difficult to understand, and it was only much later that I began to understand what the word “assassination” meant. When I finally got to see the films on a color television, perhaps a decade after the events of that day, I realized the bitter irony of that bright pink dress, an elegant pink wool outfit that contrasted violently with the death of her husband. To me she was just another grown up mixed up in the complicated and mysterious world of adults. Four-year-olds have a very limited sense of tragedy or loss or complexity. I knew the president was dead, and I knew that this affected his wife, but my primitive understanding of the world could not comprehend the immensity of what had happened. I remembered that she looked beautiful, neat and trim, dutiful. As I watched television that fateful day, watched the long faces of the newsmen, listened to their terribly stern words, witnessed their disbelief, I knew something important was happening. She wore a pink dress that day.