While in New York, I also devoted considerable time to the Kennedy for President campaign, particularly to RFK’s involvement in the New York State primary. Admittedly, the tasks were rather mundane in nature but as I (and others) engaged in them, we forged a bond that normally would not easily have been broken. A party held at Kennedy Headquarters on Broadway the Friday evening of May 10 only solidified those ties. Little did we know.
Almost reluctantly, and certainly sadly, I returned to Montreal the first weekend of June 1968 (my friend stayed on alone). The following Tuesday, Senator Robert Kennedy defeated Eugene McCarthy in the hotly-disputed west coast California primary. The next morning I awoke to the news that Kennedy had been shot in the head just moments after his victory speech in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Still barely alive, the prognosis was not good.
Deeply dejected, I left that very evening for my summer job in Banff. All students hired to work at that iconic hotel were given complimentary rail transportation to Alberta in order to take up their responsibilities with Canadian Pacific. It was while on that train that I learned, the following day, of the death of Robert Kennedy. There would be no return to the days of Camelot. I instinctively thought that America seemed intent on murdering from among its best and brightest. I suddenly, simultaneously felt very far away from New York City and the many good people with whom I had worked during that memorable seven week span.
And so it was with those lamentable tidings, ascertained on a C.P. train snaking its way through the rocks and lakes of the barren Canadian Shield in northern Ontario, that my youthful and unsullied New York odyssey came to a shattering, despondent end.
“Sic transit gloria mundi”