Vero woman recalls events around presidential assassination
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- "It was just a very sad time."
Fifty years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a time period in American history that is full of controversy, but one thing is certain, Americans were stunned at how quickly life could be snuffed out, even the life of a high-profile person like the President of the United States.
Grace Allen of Vero Beach, 74, remembers the fateful day when President Kennedy was shot and has an interesting story relating to events following his assassination.
"Something like that shakes a nation," Ms. Allen said.
"My daughter and I were at a laundry mat washing and drying clothes and the TV in there was on and a report came in and said he was dead.
"I just had to sit down and hold my little girl. It was just horrifying news and I remember the reporter on TV was crying," Ms. Allen said.
At the time, Ms. Allen was living at the Indiana and Kentucky state borders, not far outside of Louisville. She was employed as a professional singer at one of Louisville's clubs, The Merry-Go-Round, owned by Dick Asher, and had many contacts in the local show business region.
One of her friends in the industry was Wally Weston, an emcee who traveled to different clubs, who happened to be a friend of Jack Ruby, owner of the Dallas club, The Carousel, and the man who went down in history books as the man that shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the man arrested for shooting President Kennedy and a Dallas police officer.
As she recounts the story, Mr. Ruby was on his way back to The Merry-Go-Round after depositing the previous night's earnings when he came upon a large crowd and he decided to find out what was going on.
Ms. Allen said she never met Mr. Ruby, but was told many things about him by Mr. Weston.
"Jack Ruby and Wally Weston were both very impulsive men," Ms. Allen said.
"Jack would get up on stage and take the microphone away from anyone, he'd start singing or talking, it didn't matter who was up there. He did whatever he wanted to do," she said.
"Wally always said Jack wanted to be a hit, he was always trying to make his club something big," Ms. Allen said.
Mr. Weston told her that Mr. Ruby loved the Kennedy family and was distraught at his assassination.
When he saw Mr. Oswald being transported that day in Dallas, he must have decided to do something about it.
"It gives me goosebumps to talk about it. I'm sure he was thinking, 'there goes the man that shot my idol,'" Ms. Allen said.
"The TV cameras show him, how he pushed and shoved in the crowd to get to Lee Harvey Oswald and as impulsive as Jack was, out his gun came and he shot him right there," she said.
Ms. Allen theorizes Mr. Ruby was carrying the gun because he had just deposited a large sum of money earned at his club.
"People say a lot of things about the Kennedy assassination, about Lee Harvey Oswald and about Jack Ruby, and how the two of them were connected, but I don't believe it," Ms. Allen said.
"It was just a very sad time," she said.