A Series of
Articles on the
Key West-JFK Connection
By Tim Gratz..Special to the Citizen
And Mark Howell
Citizen Arts & Entertainment Editor
Key West Citizen, Key West, Florida. Permission granted
January 6, 2004 to reproduce here.]
2003 Nov. 19 Presidential visits:
Kennedy and Key West
... View Article
2003 Nov. 20 The
strange flight of Gilbert Lopez
... View Article
2003 Nov. 21 No
Name Key mercenaries linked to JFK assassination
... View Article
2003 Nov. 22 The
bishop and the pawn
... View Article
2003 Nov. 23 Searching
for ghosts; Did Oswald meet Ruby at Key West Airport?
... View Article
(supplement to the five part series)
2003 Nov. 24 The
saga of Rolando Cubela
... View Article
West Citizen, 11/19/2003]
The morning after the assassination, Marina Oswald
dresses her 22 month
old daughter June for a trip downtown to Dallas police
"You just decide not to die, that's all. You dare not to
The Questions Never Cease
by Mark Howell
Probing the Keys connections to the Kennedy assassination
Citizen this week has been a killer experience. By which I
for space reasons, we had to kill so much of the information
unearthed. But also because of the task's inherent edginess,
Wilhelmina Harvey told me that when she and her husband C.
the city mayor, met President Kennedy his 1962 visit, she
the President that the First Lady (who was not on the trip)
prettier if she wore her hair in a different way. The next
and behold," said the county mayor emeritus, "Jackie had the
Then there was the moment when, in the elegance of a Key
West house, we
asked the homeowner whether her husband had or had not been
operative and had to sit through the heavy, heavy silence
followed. Which is something no Key West writer would want
The Kennedy assassination is the sort of story that can
your desk like a can of beans. My job has been to curb that
against the infinite and infectious enthusiasms of my
Gratz, plus the infernal aptitude of library historian Tom
for digging up big evidence just as we'd closed our
The most curious assassination details I have come across
personal ones that do not have any particular link to the
than a shared humanity.
There is so much I had forgotten or did not know.
I knew that Oswald's World War II vintage Italian Mannlicher
carbine not only killed Kennedy but wounded Texas Governor
Connolly too. It also hit bystander James T. Tague.
I'd forgotten about James T. Tague. He was grazed on the
cheek by a
ricochet. A car salesman at the time, Tague's roommate
turned out to
have been a guitar player who was dating a dancer who worked
Ruby. Small town, Dallas. Tague is still in the auto
I knew that John F. Kennedy was buried in Arlington
Cemetery. I knew
that Officer J.D. Tippett was buried in Laurel Land Memorial
in Dallas. And I knew that Lee Harvey Oswald was buried in a
pound steel reinforced concrete vault in Rose Hill cemetery
I had forgotten, however, that in 1981 Oswald's body was
from its grave. An author called Michael Eddowes had brought
Texas to determine who was actually buried in Oswald's
The exhumed skull grinned with a full set of natural front
it is well known that Oswald lost a front tooth in a fight
at school; a
photo from the period showed him with the gap, before it was
a partial plate.
This gels with something Marina had always claimed, that her
husband spoke fluent Russian when she first met him.
Marina Nikolayevna Prusakov Oswald married Lee Harvey Oswald
was 19, in Minsk where she was studying to be a pharmacist.
defected (supposedly) to the Soviet Union and later changed
returning to the United States in 1961 with Marina in tow.
But Oswald had not spoken fluent Russian when he left the
U.S. Nor was
he intensively taught Russian in the Marines as was widely
right after the assassination.
What's more, Oswald's mother and brother claimed that the
came back from Russia spoke English with a slight Russian
There were other radical changes in Oswald, not only a loss
and a thinning of his hair but also a shrinking of his
On his Defense Department ID for the Marines, Oswald's
height is given
as 5 foot 11 inches. When he was arrested after the
was measured at 5 foot 9 inches.
So who was the guy who came back from Russia?
Oswald's mother was little help. Marguerite Oswald had
written to her
Texas congressman back in 1960, asking for help in tracing
whereabouts in Russia. She loudly suggested that Lee was a
of some sort, and that governments could do anything they
"I say the U.S. Embassy ordered him to marry this Russian
Marguerite told the Warren Commission, who considered her a
"I know about the CIA and so on, the U2, Powers and things
been made public. They go through any extreme for their
J. Edgar Hoover was also of little help. The FBI boss had
sending memos like this one to the State Department dated
June 3, 1960:
"There is a possibility that an impostor is using Oswald's
Ten years ago Peter Wronski wrote a book about the height
focusing on the only known full-length photograph of Oswald
with his wife. It showed Lee to be barely taller than the 5
foot 3 inch
Marina. Wronski wrote that the woman in the photo was not
Lucy Petrusevich, a friend of Marina who resembled her.
"But I was wrong," Wronski announced in 1999. "And I deeply
mistake. I fell into the very trap I accuse other JFK
falling into: Fitting witness statements to preconceived
preconception was that the kind of substitution that the
proposed does not exist, so I hungrily grasped at any data
Whoever the man was that married Marina and don't ask me we
do know she
did not like him very much. The KGB, which bugged the
apartment, heard Marina telling neighbors she was
Lee's mind." Worse yet, she complained, Lee was "always
air with gases" and doing so as naturally as drinking water.
In America, the couple's neighbors said she was often seen
blue over half her face." By that time, Marina surely knew
Her Lee was the guy who wrote on Holland American stationary
on the way
back to United States: "I wonder what would happen if
stand up and say he was utterly opposed not only to
governments, but to
the people, to the entire land and complete foundation of
It is a statement that heralded the end of a relatively
happy time in
America and the beginning of a decade that would be wracked
and military violence.
"Sometimes in the dark of night," wrote Marina, known as the
Widow, "I begin to think. And I wonder if Lee started all
violence. The memory is like a cat scratching my heart."
In March 1964, Marina overdosed on antidepressants and was
a psychiatric hospital in Dallas, where she was placed on
watch. Upon her release, she moved back to New Orleans and
Marina came to believe that Oswald did not act alone,
contrary to the
views she shared with the Warren Commission. She concluded
Home Journal in 1988: "I think he was caught between two
government and organized crime."
In 1996, Marina wrote to the Assassinations Review Board
definitely think that Lee did not kill President Kennedy. I
was given up to pacify people as a patsy."
As for why she changed her view over the years from solo
assassin to no
assassin at all she replied: "When I was questioned by the
Commission, I was a blind kitten."
Novelist Norman Mailer has written extensively on the
assassination and in the mid 1990s he interviewed Marina for
Tale: An American Mystery." He noted that "she may be the
smoker to consume four packs a day." He added that she
"sensual, not sexual." Marina herself considered her face to
from either side."
She is reported to have had an affair with one or more of
her FBI case
officers in Texas before marrying Kenneth J. Porter of New
"Look, I'm walking through the woods, trying to find a path,
all of us," she declared in one of the thousands of hours of
she has given over 40 years. "The difference is, I have a
little bit of
insight. Only half the truth has been told."
Mailer paints a picture of the other half:
"She sits in a chair, a tiny woman in her fifties, her thin
forward in such pain of spirit under such a mass of guilt
would comfort her as one would a child. What is left of what
her beauty are her extraordinary eyes, blue as diamonds, and
with light as if, in divine compensation for the dead weight
that will not cease to haunt her, she has been granted a
spark from the
hour of an apocalypse others have not seen."
Lee and Marina had two children. Audrey Marina Rachel Oswald
and June Lee Oswald. Marina today is a grandmother.
If you punch "Bush children" into your computer's search
engine, you get about 3,600,000 responses.
If you type in "Oswald children," you get the big bagel,
There is, however, a web site that will locate Marina's
children for you at a price.
But I thought to myself this week, there is one thing I do
know. There is an answer to this one.
Which is: I don't think so. Not the children.
End of Page
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