"The Day The World Stopped Turning"
My mom called it "her story", and the characters within it were the object of speculation and worry as if they were actual family.
"As The World Turns" was a CBS soap opera, appointment viewing for Mrs. Irene Mueller and millions of other women who'd shut down like clockwork at 12:30 CST each weekday afternoon to catch the latest from the Hughes, Stewart and Miller families of Oakdale, Illinois.
Rain or shine, sick or well, "As The World Turns" wasn't missed. Dad ruled TV at night (even when asleep, he'd blurt out "Hey, I'm watching that" if my sister and I dared switch to something WE wanted to see) but for at least a half hour each midday, the tube was Mom's and ATWT was on. Living close to school, I was able to come home for lunch each day as a first grader at Sheboygan's Sheridan Elementary. The first notes of the theme and sight of a twirling Earth were my cue to finish eating, bundle up and trudge back to school.
So it was that day, November 22, 1963. Home for lunch. "As The World Turns" on TV. Dad on the couch, napping as he got ready for his second shift job as custodian at Urban Jr. High School on the other side of town. Mom in her chair, taking in "her story."
Maybe that was you, too. Is that what YOU were watching when you first heard about President Kennedy? Were you among the millions who first got the news via Walter Cronkite? If not, you've no doubt seen the clip.
We know what happened in Dallas, and what played out the rest of your day at home, work or school. But if ATWT was a part of your family's pop culture fabric, you maybe didn't know what happened on the set that day. What did the actors know, and when did they know it? How do you play on when the nation is convulsing? What did they do the rest of the afternoon--or, for that fact, the following Monday when the nation buried it's murdered President? Did the show go on? And, if so, did they make any mention of real life in their fictional, black and white community?
The New York Times has that story, one of the more interesting angles to this much-covered, much-discussed 50th anniversary. And, it'll be of my last references to the subject.
For now, anyway.