On November 21, 1963, while at work at the Texas School Book Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald asked Buell Frazier for a ride out to Irving, Texas, after work that afternoon 1.
Oswald, at this point, was living in Oak Cliff, Texas, at a rooming house at 1026 North Beckley. His wife, Marina, and the two kids were staying in Irving, with family friend, Ruth Paine. Frazier, who had become friends with Oswald (at the Depository) 2, just happen to live down the street from her.
Frazier stayed with his sister, Linnie Mae Randle, and it was Linnie Mae Randle that told Ms. Paine about the TSBD 3. Ms. Paine, in turn, told Oswald.
Getting the job, Frazier and Oswald quickly worked out an arrangement in which Oswald would ride out to Irving with him on Fridays, and would then return with him to Dallas the next workday (usually Mondays) 4, and since this November 21 trip was a break in the routine (it was a Thursday), Frazier naturally asked him why. According to Frazier, he told him he was going “to get some curtain rods. You know, put in an apartment” 5. In which going by Frazier’s quote, Oswald never did say they were for his apartment. He just said he was getting them for an apartment.
Much is made of this trip, with many from both camps being dead set in believing that Oswald made it just to get his rifle, while others side with the idea that he at least initially made it in order to make up for a lover’s spat, which began earlier in the week.
Oswald was one to call his wife twice a day: Once at work, and once in the evening, from his rooming house 8. Which he would always call to make sure it was okay for him to come out to the house on Fridays 9. On this day, however, Marina told him not to 10. Then, that Sunday, Marina was inspired to “Let’s call Papa,” only to have Ms. Paine be told that no such person lived there 11 12.
Now when Oswald called the house that Monday, as per normal, he was not aware of this phone call until Marina mentioned it, for which he did become angry 13. His anger though wasn’t over Marina trying to reach him; it was over the fact that she had Ms. Paine try to reach him 14!
I find it plausible that Marina knew, before this date, that Oswald was living underneath an assumed name.
After this call, Oswald called back several times, but Marina wouldn’t talk to him. Then, when he didn’t call her Tuesday or Wednesday, she figured he was just trying to punish her 15 16. Then, ‘out of the blue’, he shows up at her doorstep, that Thursday, November 21.
Ms. Paine was out buying groceries when he came in from work. When she got home, at about 5:30, she said he was out in the front yard, playing with June and talking with Marina. He then
walked over to the car and helped her bring in the groceries 17.
Ms. Paine said he was in a good mood, he was friendly 18, and from what she could
tell, he and Marina were both lovey-
Marina herself admitted that Oswald was trying to please her (obviously what Ms. Paine was seeing), but she was having none of it 22. He had even stressed to her the want to be back together again (with her and the kids), under one roof, but again, she rebuffed him 23.
Because of her stance of not talking to him, Marina said that Oswald was upset that night. Not angry (she stressed that), but upset 24.
Before we continue…this Thursday, November 21, and even the weekend before it (of the 15th), were not the only times that Oswald quote, broke his routine. In fact, two weekends before the assassination, Oswald didn’t come out to the Paine house until that Saturday 25: broken routine number three. Then initially Marina was convinced there was still yet another weekend that he didn’t come out 26: if true, this was broken routine number four.
At the time of the assassination, Oswald had only been at the Depository five weeks. So it’s obvious that he didn’t exactly have a strict routine down about when, and how, he got out to Irving, Texas.
A light being left on in the garage: Ms. Paine said that when she went out to the garage that night to paint some children blocks, she found that the light had been left on. As such, and because she said she was in the habit of turning it off, when coming back into the house, she had assumed that Lee had been out there 27.
This was at nine o’clock.
Okay, to many people, her assumption was correct. That he had been out in the garage, and that he was preparing his rifle for travel, which he allegedly kept stored there, wrapped up in a blanket: A thought that was bolstered by a report written by FBI agents James Hosty, and Joe Abernathy.
As the Warren Commission had paraphrased it, the report quoted Ruth Paine as saying “on the evening of November 21, Lee Oswald went out to the garage of your (her) home, where he had many of his personal effects stored, and spent considerable time, apparently rearranging and handling his personal effects 28.” The only problem here is that her Warren Commission testimony is a complete contradiction.
As said, she told the Commission that Oswald was in the front yard when she got home 29, and that the garage door was down as it normally was (she never raised it unless she was taking out the trash) 30. That he stayed in the front yard with her, Marina, and June, until she headed into the house with the groceries (with him following suite) 31 32.
Walking through the door, Lee followed her into the kitchen, where she put up the groceries and then prepared dinner. Ms. Paine said with a ‘definite no’ that Lee Harvey Oswald was not in her garage during this time 33.
The house entrance to Ms. Paine’s garage was inside the kitchen 35.
Dinner was ready about 6:30, and everyone sat down for it, including Lee. It took around thirty minutes to eat 36, and as Ms. Paine again expressed with confidence, Lee Harvey Oswald did not go into her garage during this time 37. Interesting enough, she didn’t seem as sure about herself.
She said that because of the size of it (of her house), she’s sure she would have heard it if he had gone out the front door. She also said that Oswald was of the sort that once he came in for the evening, he didn’t go back out. If he had gone back out, it would have caught her attention. She didn’t hear anyone opening the back door or garage door either.
For one, like she told the Warren Commission, this hour ritual did not mean she was in the bedroom the entire time. It was normal for her to go to the kitchen to prepare the baby’s bottle, which included the time it took her to heat up the milk. She also said that her kids loved to play chase, which often put them, and her, everywhere except the bedroom 45.
Second; Marina herself testified that after Oswald had given up trying to please her, he sat down and watched TV until going to bed (at about nine o’clock) 46.
Ms. Paine said she saw Oswald getting ready for bed 47.
Ms. Paine said she never heard anyone in her garage that evening 48. She also said she never saw Marina or Oswald in it either 49. When the Warren Commission suggested to her that this FBI report had somehow possibly refreshed her recollection (about Oswald’s whereabouts that evening), she told them flat out that they had refreshed nothing 50! That they had all there was to her recollection.
The blanket in the garage: No one’s denying that there was a blanket in the Paine garage, and that it had something wrapped up in it. It most likely did contain a rifle, but two of its three witnesses did not offer the best support for this.
It first appeared after Marina came back from New Orleans (she had moved in directly with Ms. Paine), and after Oswald came back from Mexico 53 54. Marina said a rifle was in it 55. Michael Paine, however, never once thought it was a rifle, and he was the one who kept moving it around the garage: He was Ms. Paine’s husband.
He said that because he respected Oswald’s right to privacy, he didn’t try to figure out what was inside the blanket, but he did feel like it was camping equipment of some kind 56. He said he didn’t understand how Marina managed so easily to see inside it: To him it was well wrapped 57.
When asked to wrap the Mannlicher-
Of course, the two would concede that it looked close enough to what they saw, back in the fall of 1963, to say that it was what they saw.
Again, Mr. Paine did not once ever think that
the package on the floor was a rifle, not until
The morning of the assassination: Oswald was his usual, ‘sort of sleepy’ self 64. He had actually overslept.
Getting up, Oswald got dressed and left Marina some money in the extra wallet that he kept in her room, which was normal for him 65. It was also normal for him not to eat breakfast 66, which he didn’t.
This latter fact is what many consider the proof in the pudding.
In attempt to prove Oswald sinister that morning, they say that he told Marina she didn’t have to make him breakfast. They say he did this in order to sneak his weapon out of the house. Well, that’s not what she told the Warren Commission.
One can theorize what Oswald meant when he told Marina that she shouldn’t get up that morning, but when she said that he overslept, she didn’t mean that he hit the snooze button, or slept through the alarm. She meant that he slept until the alarm went off (whereas normally he would wake up beforehand) 69. Since Oswald’s entire family shared the same bedroom, it makes sense that when he did wake up beforehand he turned off the alarm: the babies themselves were not yet old enough to go to school.
If Oswald didn’t know that his wife had woken up before him 70, then his response was quite natural. The Commission didn’t ask Marina if waking before him was a regular event.
Actually, Oswald did have his normal breakfast that morning: a cup of coffee 71.
__For some, even more proof in the pudding came when he left the house.
According to Gerald Posner, instead of waiting for Frazier to pick him up, as per usual, in front of the Paine house, Oswald instead walked to his. He then walked up to the kitchen window, which he never did before, in order to let Frazier know he was there 72. Well, the problem with this story is that it’s devoid of its context, created to give the image of Oswald as being fidgety, impatient, and of course, up to no good.
In fact, Posner was just outright wrong when he said that Frazier always drove to the Paine house to pick him up 73.
The truth of the matter is that he and Frazier had an additional arrangement: If Frazier was not out in front of the Paine house, when he walked out, Oswald would walk over to his, with Frazier then picking him up at the street corner 74. Except that on that particular morning, Frazier wouldn’t even be outside! He had forgotten what time it was 75.
Outside, and in the car, Frazier noticed Oswald’s package: It laid on the backseat. When he asked about it, he said he said again, it was curtain rods 76.
Getting to work, Oswald got out of the car, and grabbed his package. He then proceeded to walk up to the job, leaving Frazier in the dust, or so the official story goes.
It’s true: The two did normally walk up together. Except Lee didn’t leave Frazier in the dust, Frazier left Frazier in the dust.
According to Frazier, because they ended up getting to work early that day, he stayed in the car to charge up his battery 77. However, when he saw that Oswald had stopped, at the rear of the car 78, and was waiting for him to come to work with him, he went ahead and got out 79.
Upon seeing him get out of the car, Oswald did resume walking, but it wasn’t as if
Frazier couldn’t have caught up with him. In fact, Frazier admitted to such, that
he chose to watch the trains switch out instead 80 81. So there you have it: So-
To see this from Oswald’s point-
Of course, the heart of this story is Oswald’s package; or to be more specific, the length of it.
Linnie Mae Randle was the first one to see him with it. She saw him holding it, in his right hand, as he approached the house, and put it in the car. He held it parallel to his body, gripping it, where it was folded at the top (like a sack lunch), with the bottom of it just barely missing touching the ground 83 84.
She reportedly told the Dallas Police Department that the package was three feet long. If this was true, then it must have shrunk by about a foot, in between the time that Oswald put it in the car, and the time that Frazier saw it.
Buell Frazier estimated the package to be two feet long, give or take an inch or two. When the FBI measured it, where it sat on his seat, they came up with a figure of 27 inches 85.
His sister, on the same day (December 1), also showed the package to have been 27 inches long (to the FBI) 86.
The problem with this 27-
The solution to this problem was simple: Frazier and his sister were wrong. Not because the Warren Commission had proof otherwise, it’s just that they needed the package to be 34.8 inches long.
The reason the 34.8 inches is such a problem, is because of the way that Frazier said that Oswald held his package, after getting out of the car.
He told the FBI on December 1 88, and then the Warren Commission, on March 11, that Oswald held it parallel to his body, with one end, under his
right armpit, the other, in his right hand 89. However, because he would then tell the Warren Commission, more than once, that he had ‘but only caught a glimpse of this’, they would use that to discredit him. What they didn’t say though is that there came a point, during his testimony, where he (like Ms. Paine) canned it with all that second guessing garbage, and stood firmly by what he said!
This occurred at the point where the Warren Commission tried to prove that he was mistaken, about what he saw.
They had him take hold of a package, with the longest part of a disassembled rifle in it. They then asked him to put one end under his arm, while grabbing the other end (the lower half of it) at the side, instead of at the bottom of it, as he testified. When they then asked him if this looked similar to the way that he saw Oswald holding his package, he told them no, it did not. He got all wordy in trying to express this, but that’s what he said.
Next, they asked him if Oswald could have had the package cupped in his right hand, while the upper portion of it rested on his shoulder: He again said no, he could not have. And it’s understandable why he said that 90.
When one looks at his FBI report, for December 1, it clearly states that he was as close as twelve feet behind Oswald that morning 91. Intrinsically, there is no way that he could have missed a package sticking up to Oswald’s ear, while only being twelve feet, behind him.
Another, and even more damaging fact, comes from page 30 of his testimony.
When asked, he told the Warren Commission that yes, he saw Oswald with his package, after getting out of the car, and before he began to walk away. That he had one end, under his right armpit, the other, cupped in his right hand 92: No ifs, no ands, and no buts!
Also, on page 19, and continuing onto page 20, Frazier said he knew what packaged curtain rods looked like, and they looked like what Oswald was carrying 93.
The police response to the curtain rod story was this: Arriving at the Paine house, after the assassination, they were told by Linnie Mae Randle (Mrs. Bill Randle) that she saw Oswald with a long package that morning, and that her brother took both him, and the package to work 94. The police then set out looking for Frazier: He didn’t come home after work 95 96.
In custody, Frazier told the police the story of the curtain rods, in which they then gave him a polygraph test (for which he passed) 97. Oswald, however, denied the curtain rod story 98, or so we’re told.
See, the problem we have with Oswald’s statements, while in custody, is that no one bothered to have a stenographer present, and there were no tape recorders either 99. So while we do have several law enforcement officials chiming in together (although not always), the only time we really knew what Oswald said, was when he said it in front of a news camera.
The curtain rod story: Even though Frazier appeared to be telling the truth, the Dallas Police Department still had two conflicting statements. Because of that, you would have thought they would have taken the matter a step further by inquiring as to whether or not Marina, or Ms. Paine, were missing any curtain rods, but they didn’t 100.
Despite how the lone nut crowd has made it out, if Ms. Paine had not testified about her curtain rods still being in her garage, some four months later, the Dallas PD, nor the Warren Commission, would have ever checked 101.
While the curtain rods, being in the garage, appear to prove Oswald a liar, there’s good reason to reserve that thought.
The day after the assassination, and the day after being told about the curtain rod story, the Dallas Police Department was given free rein in searching the Paine house. By free rein, I mean there was no one there when they searched it.
To give the police some credit, they didn’t just break into the house, after everyone left. No, Ms. Paine was there when they showed up. But because she was more concerned about picking up a box of Cap’n Crunch, than watching out for Oswald’s rights, she then proceeded to leave them there to do as they wished 102 103 104.
Although the blame falls squarely on Ms. Paine, the DPD should have insisted that she stay there. After all, this was not just a case of petty theft. She should have stayed.
When the Warren Commission showed up at the Paine house on March 23, 1964, they found that the curtain rods were indeed there, but they weren’t wrapped up. Instead, they were just sitting on a shelf.
When Ms. Paine testified about them, she did allow, at the last minute, that they might not have been wrapped up. However, before that, there was no doubt in her mind that they were wrapped up, and that she was the one that wrapped them! In fact, she was so certain of this that the Warren Commission then obviously felt obligated to reiterate her statements 105 106 (in an effort to explain away a problem).
Of course, there’s the possibility that Ms. Paine’s husband had unwrapped them himself, a week or two later (after the assassination) when he checked to make sure they were still there 107. On the other hand, if that was the case, then why is it that his fingerprint was not the fingerprint found on them?
According to the police report, a legible fingerprint was found on the curtain rods, but it didn’t belong to Oswald 108. So whose fingerprint was it?
If the print had belonged to Ms. Paine or her husband, the authorities would have told us this, wouldn’t they’ve?
A third option for how some ‘wrapped curtain’ rods became unwrapped, actually has some evidence behind it, but it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for the public image of those who investigated the case.
Ms. Paine testified about her curtain rods, for the first time, on March 20. On March 23, the WC showed up at her house, for the first time, to look at them. Thus if the DPD had never questioned her about them, and if they were still at her house four months later, then it makes sense that the date they were first submitted for dusting would be no sooner than March 23, but that’s not what the report said.
According to the record, Secret Service Agent John Howlett brought the rods in for dusting on March 15 109: Five days before Ms. Paine ever testified about them.
What makes this even more interesting is that besides being present when the Commission searched the Paine garage, Howlett was the one who actually pulled the curtain rods off the shelf. Never once did he mention that he had given them to the Dallas PD for dusting, just eight days before. He also didn’t mention whether or not they were wrapped up when he first found them.
Finally, the lengths of the curtain rods were 27 and a half inches long, according to the Warren Commission, which puts them in range of the length of the package that Buell Frazier (also known as Wesley) saw Oswald carrying that morning 110.
To end this on a humorous note, Mr. Jenner, of the Warren Commission, had this to say about the curtain rods, upon seeing them in the Paine garage that March 23, 1964. “Since we will have the exact physical exhibits we don’t have to measure them, but perhaps for somebody who is reading the record, Mr. Howlett, your suggestion that we measure them is not a bad one”: Really? Did he really consider not measuring them for the record 111, even though he knew the significance of the curtain rod story?