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“Lee Harvey Oswald lived just down the street,” my Bed and Breakfast host, Erik informs me.

The lair of the assassin. The house in Oak Cliff, Dallas, where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed. (Photos on this page by Michael Day)

The house in Oak Cliff, Dallas, where Lee Harvey Oswald  lived. He returned there briefly after the assassination. (Photos on this page by Michael Day)

Erik’s wife, Brenda, confirms the surprising information: “It’s true–the tour stops in front every day,” she says.

We walk together down the street and look at a pleasant bungalow which has no hint of its notorious past. Erik shows me the window to the room which once housed the assassin.

It had not taken Oswald long  by taxi to get back to his room after gunning down the president. He then left and soon shot a policeman dead, the second of his murders that day.

Guide and JFK expert Scott Alston greeting passengers

Guide and JFK expert Scott Alston greeting passengers

From suburban Oak Cliff, Erik   drives me the short distance to the CBD. At Dealey plaza where the assassination happened, I join a “JFK Trolley Tour”, which begins from Elm Street, immediately outside the Texas School Book Depository building.

As the bus drives along, the well-informed guide, Scott Aston, begins by pointing to a building: “That’s where Jack Ruby, the man who shot Oswald, had his Carousel nightclub”.

Behind this door is where Jack Ruby shot dead the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

Behind this door is where Jack Ruby shot dead the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

We continue on until we stop outside a squat brick structure with a set-back entrance, a building that looks sinister with its closed metal roller door.

“That was the entrance to the basement of the police headquarters where Ruby shot Oswald two days later,” says Scott.  His words remind me of the shock I felt as a kid in 1963 upon hearing that the arrested assassin had himself been killed.

The bus then follows part of the motorcade route taken by President Kennedy. We are silent as the vehicle slowly move down the slight hill to the assassination site.

Suddenly Scott shouts: “Boom boom!” I jump with the fright but strangely enough, the simulated shooting doesn’t feel disrespectful, probably because Scott’s commentary captures the horror and the sadness of that day, and the greatness of the victim.

Our tour passes over the spot where the president was shot

Our tour passes over the spot where the president was shot

We quickly move past the grassy knoll on our right and are soon under and through the famous overpass, and soon, as predicted by Erik and Brenda, we pause outside the house where Oswald stayed before he went off and murdered Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. A few minutes later we arrive at the Texas Theatre where he was apprehended.

The next day, I leave my Bed and Breakfast, and follow Oswald’s movements until I reach the memorial to the police officer where I interview the driving force behind its establishment, a former FBI agent with the wonderful name of Farris Rookstall  III.

Former FBI agent Ferris Rookstall II describing to me the shooting of the policeman, J. D. Tippit

Former FBI agent Farris Rookstall II describing to me the shooting of the policeman, J. D. Tippit

Lonely street...the spot where Oswald shot the police officer less than an hour after he shot the President of the United States

Lonely street…the spot where Oswald shot the police officer less than an hour after he shot the President of the United States

Mr Rookstall , who has carried out extensive research into the assassination,  tells me he concurs with the FBI’s official view that Oswald was the lone killer and that there was no conspiracy. Mr Rookstool tells me that after Oswald had shot dead Officer Tippit, he had been spotted entering the nearby Texas Theatre.

When the police arrived at the theatre, they ordered  the lights to be on turned on. One officer approached Oswald, who first put up his hands, then punched the policemen and drew a pistol and attempted to fire.

As Oswald pulled the trigger,  the hammer on the pistol caught the skin between the officer’s thumb and forefinger,  preventing the gun from firing. The officer and colleagues then completed the arrest .

I decide to have a look at that theatre. I meet an American couple who are visiting for the same reason as me. In our discussion, I mention I believe Oswald was the lone assassin and that there was no conspiracy.

The sign now  at the ticket office of the Texas Theatre where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested

The sign now at the ticket office of the Texas Theatre where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested

Like so many other people, they are surprised to hear my views and  put forward a common version of the conspiracy theory.

I decide to speak up: “ It seems plausible but  there has been no solid evidence  or any leaks or deathbed confessions.” They smile and we agree to disagree.

Texas Theatre, which Oswald entered, armed with a pistol

Texas Theatre, which Oswald entered, armed with a pistol

 

Tour: visit www.BigDfuntours.com

Museum: http://www.jfk.org/

Bed and breakfast in Oak Cliff: https://www.airbnb.com.au

The plaque tells the story of the shooting of the police officer, J. D. Tippit

The plaque tells the story of the shooting of the police officer, J. D. Tippit

Select by choosing from geographical settings of travel stories by Michael Day, a travel writer based in Brisbane, Australia.


This is a sample of travel stories I have written on assignment as a travel writer, or when covering Asia for my newspaper, or as a freelancer. They have been published in newspapers, magazines and Web-based newspapers. (Yes, that is a real Oscar in my hands. Made out of genuine plastic.)