Who could fault Ruth Paine for the ambivalence she felt upon returning to Texas for the opening of a museum within the little house in a Dallas suburb that she shared in 1963 with the family of Lee Harvey Oswald?

Santa Rosa resident Paine, 81, admits to having found herself "a little bit numb about the whole idea."

After all, the retired teacher and school psychologist has known all this time that 50 years ago Thursday, Oswald once again accepted her hospitality at that house. And the following morning he used the rifle he'd hidden in her garage to kill President John F. Kennedy.

Invited by the city of Irving, Texas, to come back to her former home on West 5th Street and see the museum that it has become, Paine steeled herself earlier this month, then planned the trip.

"I'm glad I went," she said Tuesday. "I was more impressed than I expected to be."

She thinks Irving succeeded in making the new Ruth Paine House Museum a "teaching tool" that recreates and preserves that portion of the lives of Lee and Marina Oswald in that house in the months before the assassination.

For portions of 1963, Paine shared the home with her friend and fellow mom, Marina Oswald. Lee Oswald came and went.

At this time a half century ago, he was staying during the workweek in a boardinghouse in Dallas and working the job that Paine helped him to secure at the city's School Book Depository. Paine and Oswald's wife didn't expect to see him until after work on Friday, Nov. 22, but he appeared at the Irving home the afternoon of the 21st.

Paine and the Warren Commission would conclude that he had learned JFK's motorcade would pass by the book depository on the 22nd, so he returned to Paine's house the afternoon prior to retrieve the rifle he had rolled up in a blanket in the garage. The commission ruled that Oswald fired the fatal shots from a book-depository window.

The city of Irving has now restored Paine's former two-bedroom, 1,250-square-feet home to its 1963 appearance. Paine had two young children and that October 20, Marina Oswald gave birth to her and Lee Oswald's second child, so toys and bottles abound.

Here and there in the house and in the garage, video images of actors portraying Lee and Marina Oswald and Paine appear ghost-like as they're projected on suspended panes of glass.

"It's very well done," said Paine, who moved away from Texas in 1966. She said she views the new museum in her former house as "a way for people to see what things were like then and who was in the house, and what happened there."

Paine found also that the museum does a good job portraying the 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald as how she perceived him then: not a potential assassin but more of "the kid down the street" who shocked the household in Irving and the world by shooting the president.