NEW YORK (AP) — For years, curiosity seekers visiting the Fort Worth, Texas, grave of Lee Harvey Oswald have wondered about the simple headstone next door, marked Nick Beef.
It turns out Nick Beef is alive and living in New York.
The New York Times reports (http://nyti.ms/19j8jyq ) that the 56-year-old man who uses that name purchased the cemetery plot next to Oswald's in 1975 and had the granite marker placed there in 1997.
Beef, born Patric Abedin, now lives in Manhattan and calls himself a nonperforming performance artist.
On Nov. 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, landed at the former Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth as part of a two-day Texas tour.
Beef, then 6 years old, was sitting on the shoulders of a military police officer in the crowd when the first couple passed just a few feet away.
Oswald shot Kennedy the next day.
Young Patric used to sometimes visit Oswald's grave with his mother. He recalled that she told him: "Never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died."
When he was 18, Beef read that the burial plot next to Oswald's was available. He bought it for $17.50 down and 16 monthly payments of $10.
Beef said he has often asked himself why he wanted it. "It meant something to me in life," is the only answer he can come up with.
Beef moved to New York, married, had two children and divorced. He did some freelance comedy writing using the name Nick Beef, a moniker he came up with while joking around with a friend.
His mother died in late 1996 and he returned to Texas to arrange her funeral.
He told the Times that during his stay, he visited his burial plot and decided to buy a gravestone with the exact dimensions as Oswald's.
He told the cemetery official to inscribe it Nick Beef.
He has no plans to ever be buried there. He said he would prefer to be cremated.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com