- On the 18th of October, the crowd in the book store was
overflowing to the doors. The enormous cake for the 72nd birthday of Lee
Harvey Oswald was in the centre and Judith Vary Baker stood over it, ready
to cut the first piece. She had kept her promise to Lee, that she would
clear his name and let his children know that he was not the killer of
President Kennedy but a young man who had tried to stop it. Her book,
"Lee and Me" was selling like the proverbial hotcakes, and the
line-up for autographed copies lasted two hours.
- I bought a copy and read it before my interview with
her on Friday, October 21st.
- Over the next two days, I was drawn so completely into
the book that I cancelled two events and several chores. It was not written
like a textbook or an affidavit, but was more a diary of what happened
to a naive school girl caught up in a conspiracy that was beyond her experience.
She was a student with an aptitude for science who wanted to find a cure
for cancer. She was twenty and Lee was twenty-three, when they met, fell
in love and were both used and abused by those determined to kill Kennedy
- I arrived at the hotel around 4 on the 21st and was invited
by Judith to her "celebration" family dinner where she said
we could talk in an informal atmosphere. Little did I know our conversation
would be cut short. She asked that I sit next to her at the head of the
table where she related conversations with Lee, as if they were yesterday...
"Lee said that you could never own your own house, because they could
take if from you for taxes." She loved the health care system in
Sweden. She would love to get another dog but "would not outlive
another dog". I replied that of course she would. She replied "No,
I would not."
- I looked away, at the dozen people enjoying the dinner,
laughing, toasting, family that Judith had not seen in years. It was not
safe for her to bring them into her life. Some of her relatives did not
want to have her in their lives, she explained, understanding their fear.
Suddenly she said, "I think my gum is bleeding". As I stared,
she put her finger in her mouth and brought out a pointed piece of glass.
I took it from her as she reached in again and removed another small piece
of glass. She said "There's something in my throat". I called
the waitress over and told her to get the manager; I showed her the pieces
of glass on the table.
- The celebration was still going on; they could not see
or hear what had transpired at the head of the table. They only realized
what had happened when they heard me ask the manager to call an ambulance.
There was obviously glass in Judith's throat and possibly in her stomach.
In fact, there were smaller sand sized pieces of glass throughout the
meat on her plate. I explained to the manager that this lady was not a
Canadian and had no health insurance here. After a slight hesitation he
said that the hotel would pay for her emergency care.
- Judith anxiously asked that I come in the ambulance with
her; the family were told where she was going so they could meet her at
the hospital. Her reunion celebration ended as daughters, sons, grandchildren
and her stepfather, shocked, went to their cars . In the ambulance, she
had some difficulty swallowing as there seemed to be glass stuck in her
throat. At the hospital, she was immediately taken to the triage room
where her daughter was the only one allowed to sit beside her. The room
was full. In spite of this frightening end to the reunion she had looked
forward to for so long, Judith was determined to get to her book signing
in Montreal the next day. I wondered, as her son drove me home, how this
night would end.
- I heard from her agent on the weekend, that indeed, this
determined lady was in Montreal the next day. I salute you Judith for
your honesty and your true grit.
- Sydney White
- Investigative Reporter
- Studies in Propaganda
- The Free University of Toronto
- Toronto, Ontario