Irv Korman was a freshman in a general psychology class taught by Dr. John Popplestone, one of the University of Akron’s best-known professors, when the word spread.
He drove to his parents’ home on Akron’s near west side, moved his father’s heavy Webcor Royal Cornet Stereofonic reel-to-reel audio recorder next to a portable television in his bedroom and turned it on.
And it stayed on. For days.
A half-century later, Korman, 68, hauled the 50-pound-plus recorder to his living room.
And he brought out a box, too, containing Akron Beacon Journals, magazines such as Life, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, and two audiotapes.
The tapes still work.
He can hear the sounds of newscasts as they retraced Kennedy’s steps in Dallas, and his speaking engagements earlier in the day.
There are President Lyndon Johnson’s first words to the nation shortly after Air Force One returned to the nation’s capital, rebroadcasts of CBS anchor Walter Cronkite announcing that the president was dead, coverage as Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, and the sounds of drums and horses.
Just as vivid as the sounds are Korman’s memories.
The smell of the warm vacuum tubes helps.
“I am up in my bedroom on the top floor of the house,” he said.
As he thinks about the reason he did this, it was a feeling of need.
Kennedy, he said, “energized the country.”
“I wanted to do something.”
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.