IRVING, Texas (AP) — It has been almost 50 years since a suburban Dallas woman was thrust into the spotlight when one of her houseguests became infamous, sleeping in her home hours before he would shoot and kill President John F. Kennedy with a rifle he hid in her garage.
Now, the home Ruth Paine shared with Marina Oswald — and on weekends with Oswald's husband, Lee Harvey Oswald — is being restored by the City of Irving to its condition in 1963 and will be reopened as a museum in time for the 50th anniversary of the president's assassination.
"The story of the assassination has been told and told," Kevin Kendro, the city archivist heading the restoration, told the Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/101Dcl2 ). "We want to focus on Ruth Paine — this Irving housewife living out here in the suburbs."
Paine had recently separated and was living in her Irving home with her two children when she met and befriended Marina Oswald. When the Russian woman confided in her that her husband was unemployed, Paine invited Marina to stay in her house with her child. Lee Harvey Oswald, Paine said, would job hunt during the week and visit his wife on weekends.
He was a polite houseguest, recalled Paine, who moved out of the Irving house shortly after the Nov. 22 assassination and now lives in California. But he could be a little overbearing toward his wife, and the two argued the week before the assassination after Marina discovered he was using a false name on job applications, Paine said.
"That was one of the first clues I had that he wasn't tucked together well," said Paine, who is now in her 80s.
Paine found it odd when Oswald showed up on a Thursday unannounced, but she thought maybe he had come to apologize to his wife. She later found out the real reason.
The next morning, he rose quietly, left his wedding ring on a dresser and removed from the garage a rifle he had hidden there.
Hours later, the president was dead.
Over the years, Paine's house was bought and sold, painted and remodeled. Yet curious tourists continued to drive by slowly or stand outside and gawk.
"Nobody comes by the other house," Paine said, chuckling in reference to the house she moved into shortly after Kennedy's assassination. "I think I'm not the one they're interested in."
In 2009, the city bought the house for $175,000. It is investing up to $100,000 in the renovation, poring over old pictures and picking Paine's memory in an attempt to get it as close to how it looked on that fateful day in 1963 — right down to the kitchen floor and the telephone stand.
"It's just another aspect to this humongous event," Kendro said. "And it sent a ripple into this one little life, changing it forever."
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com