The Role of Television in the Sixties...

I haven't fully tackled the scene where Franny watches JFK's speech on television (as school-assigned extra credit, on October 22, 1962), but I will -- I know my editor is right, that we need to see that scene, as the story makes a huge pivot here. I wrote about this last week, and received lots of mail afterwards. I wanted to share one letter, with permission, from teacher Trish Vlastnik, at E.J. Swint Elementary School in Jonesboro, Georgia. Thanks for your thoughts, Trish:


I recall how these major events of the '60s unfolded for us as students and how the television played such an important role in our awareness. Every space craft lift off required a trip to the auditorium of the school where the entire uniform-clad, school body, sat and "watched" the lift off from the one lone black and white TV set on a cart in front of the room. Often, we couldn't see much more than cloudy images yet we sat sometimes for hours, listening to the announcers as the spacecraft and crew prepared for the countdown.

I also remember how we gathered as a group on the living room floor inches from the b & w set to watch the moon landing that day in June.

And how every major address from our eloquent and handsome, copper-haired president, required our undivided attention. It was more than a civics lesson -- it was the awakening of civic awareness in middle-class kids who had no reason to be interested in current events until that moment. It was, to some degree, because of this new interest and involvement,that his loss was so devastating to each of us and the Nation as a whole.

Just had to share that. Though of course I haven't read your book yet, I applaud your insight in choosing this pivotal moment in our histories as the backdrop for your story.

I follow the pomegranate with great interest and hope all is progressing well for you.

I'm so glad you just had to share that. Of COURSE Franny would watch this speech with her family. Of course she would.

And... all is progressing well. It's slow, this revision work -- this is the go-round I have with the manuscript before copy editing, and I want to make sure I've got it right. I'll be here, in the green chaise, all day.