I'm certainly not alone among Americans of a certain age in remembering exactly where I was on the day of her death. In the late afternoon of Aug. 5, 1962, I was leaving the Polo Grounds after watching the New York Mets split a doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds when I saw, at the entrance to the 155th St. subway station, newsboys hawking tabloid extras with the news announced in big, black type. I was stunned, as obviously were all the others who crowded around to buy copies. After all she was only 36 years old -- a mere 13 years older than I was -- and recent photographs had suggested that she was at the height of her beauty. That she was dead was unbelievable and insupportable.
I had never thought of this before, but, as it happens, I do remember where I was that day. I was 20 and at home in the house I grew up in. I was in the kitchen when the news came over the radio. I do not remember thinking it was either unbelievable or insupportable. In fact, I am certain I did not think it was either.