Friday, September 23, 2016

I was 21 older college freshman

 The University of San Diego was founded in 1949 and, 11 years later,  I found it in 1960.

Had just finished my 3.5 years as a U.S.Marine combat photographer and was still getting used to wearing civvies.

I gratefully had accepted a scholarship at the young University as the school's first "official" photographer. The 1961 yearbook was the first for the school.

One of the first people I photographed was Senator John F. Kennedy, who had come to San Diego in 1960, campaigning to become President of the United States of America.

 Just a few weeks before, I had packed up all my darkroom gear, movie camera, and Rolleiflex, left Charleston, South Carolina and headed West.

A few fellow freshmen joined me when I suggested, "let's go see the next U.S.President." 

Of course, I had my camera with me as we pushed through the crowd downtown to get closer to the platform set up on Broadway.

I recall that 56 years ago, I looked up at a policeman on the platform, told him I was the official photographer at the University, and asked if he could give me a hand getting up on the stage. The officer did.

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the President and I have used my photo of the young man often in this blog.

Three years later, I was assigned to take his picture - as President Kennedy - when he accepted an honorary degree from San Diego State University and gave the Commencement address.

Then I was a staff photographer for the  San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and really had actual credentials to be there with my camera.

He made his fateful trip to Dallas five months later.

I went back to USD on the 45th anniversary of my graduation.

One of the fellows who had gone downtown with me to "see the Presidental candidate" was at the reunion and we talked about that afternoon.

That was a joyful day in 1960 and one to remember.

Thanks for reading this and sharing my memory of seeing the President - twice.

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