In 1963, Mrs. Ruth Paine was living in Irving, Texas in a tiny white ranch house. Separated from her husband, the Quaker woman lived with her two toddlers, Lynn and Christopher.
Through a desire to improve East-West relations in the world community, Mrs. Paine studied the Russian language, and participated in a Soviet pen-pal program sponsored by the Quakers. Because of her interest in speaking Russian, Mrs. Paine was introduced to Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina. Oswald had learned the foreign language on his own, and married Marina, a Russian girl, during the time when he defected to Communist Russia.
Mrs. Paine and Marina, another young mother, became fast friends. When it became clear that Marina needed a place to stay, Mrs. Paine invited her and her two infant children to live in the Paine home, despite the cramped quarters in the two-bedroom house. Although Marina barely spoke English, Mrs. Paine favored the arrangement as way to practice her Russian skills. Meanwhile, Lee Oswald rented an elfin room in Dallas.
Mrs. Paine was unaware that Lee Harvey Oswald stored his bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle rolled up in a blanket on the floor of her garage. Oswald allegedly retrieved the rifle before JFK was assassinated.
On November 22, when Mrs. Paine learned that the president had been shot, she lit several candles. Marina asked her if it was a way of praying. Mrs. Paine said it was, in her own way.
In an interview after the assassination, Mrs. Paine described Lee Harvey Oswald: “I thought of him as a dissenter, a pamphlet passer, a person not contented with society as it was nor with himself . . . He certainly had very little training, so that he was not able to get jobs that interested him . . . He was not a particularly capable person.”
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