DRACUT -- It's a nearly perfectly preserved, 50-year-old collection of newspapers, magazines, and books related to the JFK assassination that Dracut homeowner Lenny Proposki completely forgot he still had.
On Nov. 22, 1963, Proposki, 70, was then a 20-year-old living with his parents in Lawrence when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, as the family learned through network news reports broadcast in grainy images on the family's 12-inch, black-and-white television screen.
"A bulletin came across the TV that the president was shot, not knowing the extent of what the injuries were," Proposki recalled.
In the days and months that followed, Proposki, a budding career photographer, accumulated a dozen local and national publications bearing headlines such as, "President Slain By Assassin"; "World Mourns President"; "The Man Who Killed Kennedy"; "Four Days"; "Assassin Slain," and "Oswald's Corpse."
Before moving out of his parents' Lawrence home, Proposki locked away the JFK assassination material in a suitcase along with some other mementos of his youth. The suitcase was tucked away in the attic of his Dracut home, where he stumbled upon it by chance last week, just days short of the 50th anniversary of the event.
"I was up in the attic, looking for Christmas decorations and lights, and here I find a box with all these newspapers and magazines from when Kennedy was assassinated," he said. "I don't really consider myself a pack-rat, but somehow or other I had set aside all of these things in a box inside a suitcase, along with some of my prized possessions from my younger years, that I kept with me as I moved from place to place.
The big question that has occupied Proposki's mind since he rediscovered the cache of JFK material is, what to do with it now? The questions drove him to contact the Lowell Sun, he said.
"I'm not interested in keeping it, but maybe there's a true historian out there who wants to do something good with it, or there may be a library or school that might want to preserve this stuff to display it for historical or educational purposes," he said. "Fifty years from now, I'm not going to be here to take it out and look at it again."
Perhaps the rarest, and most graphic of all the images preserved in Proposki's collection is contained in an August, 1964 edition of the National Enquirer newspaper, showing JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's wounded, stitched-up body on an autopsy table.
Proposki said he was struck by how well preserved the materials appear to be, despite his having made no special effort toward that end. "I must have a good attic," he said.
Proposki said he's open to Sun readers contacting him with suggestions as to the disposition of the JFK assassination-related publications through his email address, or website: email@example.com, or www.lennysphotos.com.
Follow John Collins on Twitter and Tout at johncolowellsun.