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Warren Commission Report: Page 383« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VII - Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives)

least because Lee's behavior suddenly improved. Before the court took any action, the Oswalds left New York 81 in January of 1954, and returned to New Orleans where Lee finished the ninth grade before he left school to work for a year. 82 Then in October of 1956, he joined the Marines. 83

Return to New Orleans and Joining the Marine Corps

After his return to New Orleans Oswald was teased at school because of the northern accent which he had acquired.84 He concluded that school had nothing to offer him. 85 His mother exercised little control over him and thought he could decide for himself whether to go on in school.86 Neighbors and others who knew him at that time recall an introverted boy who read a great deal.87 He took walks and visited museums, and sometimes rode a rented bicycle in the park on Saturday mornings.88 Mrs. Murret believes that he talked at length with a girl on the telephone, but no one remembers that he had any dates. 89 A friend, Edward Voebel, testified that "he was more bashful about girls than anything else." 90


Several witnesses testified that Lee Oswald was not aggressive. 91 He was, however, involved in some fights. Once a group of white boys beat him up for sitting in the Negro section of a bus, which he apparently did simply out of ignorance. 92 Another time, he fought with two brothers who claimed that he had picked on the younger of them, 3 years Oswald's junior. Two days later, "some big guy, probably from a high school--he looked like a tremendous football player" accosted Oswald on the way home from school and punched him in the mouth, making his lip bleed and loosening a tooth. Voebel took Oswald back to the school to attend to his wounds, and their "mild friendship" stemmed from that incident.93 Voebel also recalled that Oswald once outlined a plan to cut the glass in the window of a store on Rampart Street and steal a pistol, but he was not sure then that Oswald meant to carry out the plan, and in fact they never did. Voebel said that Oswald "wouldn't start any fights, but if you wanted to start one with him, he was going to make sure that he ended it, or you were going to really have one, because he wasn't going to take anything from anybody." 94 In a space for the names of "close friends" on the ninth grade personal history record, Oswald first wrote "Edward Vogel," an obvious misspelling of Voebel's name, and "Arthor Abear," most likely Arthur Hebert, a classmate who has said that he did not know Oswald well. Oswald erased those names, however, and indicated that he had no close friends.95


It has been suggested that this misspelling of names, apparently on a phonetic basis, was caused by a reading- spelling disability from which Oswald appeared to suffer.96 Other evidence of the existence of such a disability is provided by the many other misspellings that appear in Oswald's writings, portions of which are quoted below.


Sometime during this period, and under circumstances to be discussed more fully below, Oswald started to read Communist litera-

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