Vol. 13


Pocket Alarm

1963; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

"Pocket Alarm" illustration, by Devyn Shelton: A transistor radio has its dial set to channel 1; a wire antenna extends from the top.

I loved rock music. My parents had just bought a transistor radio. Since cell phones had not been invented yet, it was the only means of handheld communication. I loved to listen to music on it. I would take it to school and listen to it in the boys’ restroom, even though it was not allowed. We would all sit in the bathroom listening to the little radio.

One day I took the radio to school to listen to music in the bathroom like any other day. I’d listen to it and go back to class. Later on in the day during social studies I was dying to hear some music. I went up to our teacher, Mr. Beares, and asked if I could go to the bathroom.

“Yes, but hurry back,” Mr. Beares said.

“I will,” I replied.

Once in the bathroom, I turned on the radio. It buzzed — then music started playing. But for some reason the music stopped. The radio crackled. For a second I thought some little thing had gone wrong with the radio, but I was very wrong. The problem was not — and I mean not — small.

“We bring you this special report,” said the radio. “President John F. Kennedy has been shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.”

My heart sank. Our great, and probably best-looking, president had been shot. I ran back to my classroom, and as soon as I was in it I ran to Mr. Beares’s desk.

“JFK got shot,” I said.

“How do you know?” asked Mr. Beares.

I slowly pulled the radio out of my pocket.

“Well, turn it up so we all can hear!”

That was a terrible day in America.

Jaden Johnson, grandson of the narrator of the story; Colorado, USA

Illustrator: Devyn Shelton; Missouri, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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