MY VISIT WITH MACK AND MAC IN 1963 By Don Henderson
JFK, Mack & Mac & Me By Don Henderson I guess everyone can remember where they were when J.F.K was killed and it is easy for me to remember. November 21, 1963. I lived in the St. Patrick's apartments in Houston. I learned that the Kennedy motorcade was going to be coming past near my apartment and if I ran I could get to the cross street where they were heading to Rice Hotel. It was about 3 or 4 blocks from my apartment project. I didn't have time to grab a camera, although at the time I'm not sure that I had one. I arrived in time to see the convertible with J.F.K. and Jackie passing within maybe 15 yards of me. Because I saw a tree with someone in it, it crossed my mind that it would be easy for someone to do something to him, not thinking anything would really happen. I was close enough to see that Jackie had very wide eyes or at least she had a wide space between her eyes. She also looked very untanned. This is the first and last time that I have ever seen a President and the picture was very vivid at the time and remains to this day in my mind. (I did see Lyndon Johnson when he landed in a Pt. Neches Park while campaigning for the Senate) The next day, while I was in my classroom at Hartman Jr. High, the announcement came on the speaker saying that Kennedy had been shot. It was a scary time, because we did not know what had happened. In back of everyone's mind it might have been because of the Cuban incident. At our school, we had been undergoing practice exercises in case Russia attacked us. Each teacher was assigned a duty and we were supposed stay at school in the event of a disaster to help monitor students. For a little while, I forgot what I had planned for this very weekend, I was going to East Texas State because I had a date with Betsy Curtis, who was an East Texas State Cheerleader. We were supposed to go to a football game on Saturday night and I was going to stay with Billy Mack Ingram and Mac Miller on Friday night, November 22 and Saturday, Nov 23. In the back of my mind, I was wondering if there were forces out there that would cause more problems, perhaps more assassinations or even an attempt to take over of our government. Sounds silly now, but at the time I wasn't the only one thinking this. Commerce is located about 60-70 miles from Dallas and still seemed close enough that some danger might still exist. I arrived after midnight at Mack's and Mac's apartment, which was upstairs, in a garage apartment. Upon arriving I got a real shock!! The temperature was in the 30's and I was greeted with a note. The couch is yours!! There was no heat at all in their place and the only thing they left me was a thin blanket. I froze the entire night. I remember some things about the next day, but not many. I remember going to a restaurant with Mack and Mac. We must have eaten breakfast but I don't remember where. The only thing that I do remember is Mac Miller put his last quarter in the Jukebox to listen to some tune. That night was the game and was it ever cold!! It was again in the 30's and with a very strong wind. Who East Texas State was playing, I could not tell you. Betsy had to cheer and in between time, she would come and sit by me. Not many things that I remember about this date, other than it was cold!! (did I say that??) By the way, this date with Betsy started by Mac Miller betting me that I couldn't get a date with Betsy. Well, I knew Betsy from Vivien's Rainbow Girls, but I don't think Mac Miller knew this. This memorable weekend was not over yet. I am not sure how I knew about this, but my old Lamar Tech college fraternity (Sigma Chi) was there that weekend to initiate East Texas State pledges into Sigma Chi. There a formal secret initiation ceremony and somehow, I became a part of it. I cannot for the life of me remember how I was asked to play a part. The initiation was to be in the East Texas State student life building and I'm not sure if I was in the building before or after the initiation. While sitting in the lobby, watching the news cast of Lee Harvey Oswald being transported, the entire world watched as Jack Ruby appeared out of nowhere and fired the shot that killed Lee Harvey Oswald. This happened on Sunday and I was supposed to return to Houston. It had been quite a weekend for me and the entire world. Monday was declared a holiday, so I had no class to teach, instead I was able to visit my Grandparents in Malakoff.