Saturday, February 14, 2009

For Lucas's inevitable family oral history projects...

As seen at New Kid's:

Where I was when....

1.) Challenger space shuttle exploded (1986): At my grandmother's house, waiting for her to drive me to school that morning. Unlike many young kids, my fifth-grade class hadn't been following the Challenger mission, so I don't think I quite understood the gravity of what had happened. I remember being the first in the classroom that day and telling my teacher, who was writing on the board, that the space shuttle had exploded. "Is this some kind of sick joke?" she asked me, her eyes wide and face contorted.

2.) Berlin Wall falls down (1989): Saw it on my parents' TV set in their bedroom. (It was the only TV we had.) Again, I was maybe 14 years old, so I didn't really grasp the significance of it all.

3.) Oklahoma City federal building bombing (1995): In a British Lit II survey course. At the end of class, the professor said, "It sounds like something bad just happened in Oklahoma City. If you have family there, you should call them."

4.) OJ Verdict (1995): Walking down the loggia along the north campus dorms at my college. The dorm lounges, which were on the first floor and whose windows opened to the loggia, were packed with students. I remember hearing the howls of protest and disbelief when he was acquitted.

5.) Princess Diana dies (1997): I had graduated from college earlier than year, and I was living with my parents. We had just finished watching a movie on their TV set, and when we turned off the movie, there was a reporter talking about a horrible crash involving Princess Diana. Of all the events mentioned so far, this one felt the most surreal to me.

6.) Columbine massacre (1999): In the newsroom at the newspaper company where Mr. Trillwing and I met. (It was his birthday, and crazy shit always happens on his birthday or the day before, since both April 19 and April 20 have special significance to crazy people--and no, I'm not talking about potheads ("4/20, Dude!").

7.) JFK Jr. Plane crash (1999): Mr. Trillwing and I were on our first date--though I don't think he recognized it as such. I was moving to Iowa about a week later, so I was anxious to figure out whether whatever it was between us was going to work out and be longer term. But Mr. Trillwing would not. shut. up. about JFK Jr. As of that evening, I don't think they had yet found the plane, or they were hoping he might still be alive or something like that.

8.) Bush/Gore crazy election (2000): Working at the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, surreptitiously checking the recount stats by refreshing my web browser every few minutes. Surreptitiously, that is, until the executive director asked me if I knew about the recount, and I showed him my screen. He then checked in with me a bit too regularly during the day. :)

9.) September 11 (2001): Mr. Trillwing and I had just moved to our current location two days earlier, and we didn't yet have cable or Internet hooked up. So Mr. T, who is a total cable news addict, had to do with fuzzy reception from rabbit ears and dialing into the Earthlink modem pool to get his news. He was going batshit crazy. And he said, the moment the first tower fell, "This country is about to take a sharp turn to the right." Truer words were never spoken.

10.) Space ship Columbia disintegrates (2003): I don't remember where I was, unfortunately, but I will say that you definitely should check out Edward Tufte's Cognitive Style of PowerPoint to see why (a) a PowerPoint presentation contributed to the death of the astronauts and (b) why you should never, ever teach with PowerPoint.

11.) Hurricane Katrina hits (2005): I was a few days from delivering Lucas, and indeed began labor in the immediate aftermath of the storm. I remember watching the news in the days immediately after Lucas's birth and just bawling. I was sad, and I would normally have been angry, too, but the raging hormones made sure I only did sadness that week.


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how vividly I remember most of these. I also wonder sometimes about how much the second shuttle disaster upset me. No idea why... I don't think I even knew the mission was happening. My memory of the OJ verdict is very different though. I was on Gates 3rd floor and some students down the hall were watching. They were overjoyed when the verdict was announced.

Lisa M.

Anonymous said...

This is amazing, brings me down memory lane. I may have to try this.