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"Willie Mae Lewis, 1963"
Oil on Wood
12" x 12"

I was 25 and living on a farm ten miles outside of the Ozarks town where I grew up. On Fridays I would drive into town and leave my three year old son, Mark, with my mother while I did the week's chores. It was a very busy day. That Friday I was rushing from one thing to another all morning. I went back to Mom and Daddy's place for dinner about noon. Daddy always walked home from work to eat. After he went back, I laid down for a nap with Mark. He was always hard to put down to sleep. Not long after, Mom ran into the bedroom and woke us up saying, "They shot the President!" I still had more errands to run so I got ready and walked down to the Square to get Mark clothes. I was not interested in politics and was more worried about being able to afford my son's winter clothes.

West Plains was a very small town and on this afternoon, the stores downtown were almost empty. I went to three stores, and at all three, I was the one to break the news to the clerks. That's how slow news traveled back then. Of course, only an hour or so later, that's all anyone was talking about. What did it mean? And who was behind it?