Where were you when?….

Sunshine‘s post reminded me about alot of things.

I even remember specific conversations with people over time who ask, “Where were you when 9/11 happened?”

When I was a kid, my mother used to tell us about when JFK was shot (and I remember when his son was killed in the plane that went down on the same weekend my mother was flying to Martha’s Vineyard, in the same area) and they were all sent home from school. I have visions in my head of my mom in her saddle shoes, walking home from school because the president has been assassinated and how scary that must have been. I hope to GOD my kids don’t ever hear about the assassination of a president, the same way I hope they are never ever exposed to a hellacious ordeal as what happened at Columbine.

I remember where I was when Columbine happened.  I was in bed, married and sick, and although I had no children, I vowed to never ever ever let my children wear flip flops to school…because the media was saying that kids who were wearing inappropriate shoes to school tripped an fell on them and ended up killed.

Granted, now that we are in our little neighborhood school here in our seaside town, although I know anything can happen, my girls are now wearing flip flops to school on non-gym days. This is after much arguing for the last few years, where I WOULDN’T let them wear flip flops to school. Because of Columbine.

As Sunshine mentioned Princess Diana in her post, I remember I was in Vermont when she was killed. I wasn’t married yet. It was raining. I was dating my now-exhusband. He could care less. I felt a little sad, because I had grown up with her story.

When 9/11 happened, I had an infant. I nursed her every morning while watching Regis and Kelly (for some gawd-awful reason) and they interrupted the show to show that one plane had hit the tower. And then suddenly, I watched with the rest of the world, the second plane hitting.  I called my husband at the time and told him, “something’s happened and it’s not just an accident.” He was watching it in his office, along with the rest of the employees, all in the security business.  I took off for a walk shortly after that and when I came home, he called and told me the towers had fallen.

Our city was quiet that day, and the next. No planes flew overhead and we lived on a dead end street and everyone had been sent home from work. Lawn chairs were brought out on the sidewalks and folks hung out and ate lunch on their laps and dinner on picnic tables and talked about what happened, merely because they couldn’t stand watching it anymore on the extended coverage on tv. It was all too devastating.

I know it impacted people in so many different ways, loss of loved ones, changes in careers, phobias and sicknesses. I have friends who left the city for good an moved to the country. I have a writer friend who joined the police academy and was an NYC police officer after 9/11, merely because of the impact of witnessing it from his office window. This year, his successful book was published (See Bad Cop by Paul Bacon) about his time on the police force after 9/11.

Yesterday, I was online and saw the news that Farrah Fawcet had passed away after being sick for so long. Later at night, J and I were in bed and looking for the weather forecast on the television and saw one of those running banners on the news channel, that goes along the bottom of the screen. I saw “Jackson died at 50 today…” but had missed the rest of the text. I looked at J and said, “Oh my gosh, do you think that’s Michael Jackson? He shook his head, “there is no way Michael Jackson is dead. There is no way.”

I got on the iphone and googled Michael Jackson and there it was.

The king of pop.

The man who sang the songs we moonwalked to, break danced and did 7th grade aerobics to.

In college, a boyfriend gave me a mix TAPE  with Jackson’s “Will You be There?” on it, and I have to say, it is probably the only song I could stand to listen to more than a few times.

Michael Jackson has been in the interest of many, (and despite my indifference to his music, including me), because he was this fascinating figure who somehow knew how to use his talent and triumph and shine, until something made him fall.

It makes me happy to see his life celebrated by so many, despite some of the downfalls. It makes me sad to think he never came back from that. But I think, in a way, the celebration of who he was, is just that.

I cringe to think that in our lifetime and even more-so in our children’s lifetime, there will be more, “where were you whens”.

I hope it is never anything too close to us, but I realize as we are going through our lives here, there are little things that happen that do have an impact. Here in our little community, in our families, in our lives. They don’t necessarily have to be in the media, even.

But still, the images of what can happen, that are far far from us, yet touch us very hard because we have some way to connect with them, stay with us forever.

3 responses to this post.

  1. I was very sad when I heard about the space shuttle exploding in the sky after take off. I went out in the desert in my car and just watched the stars in the sky. I remember when Kennedy was shot and also when the guy that supposedly killed him was shot by Jack Ruby. I hated watching Johnson getting sworn in on the plane. I remember when Elvis died, it was on my birthday. I remember when Nixon was kicked out of office because of Watergate. I was really sad when the lead singer of Queen died. I am still sad about that, I loved their music and still do.


  2. I remember when the Vietnam was was finally over. Some kids in my 3rd grade class were doing a report on it, and ended it by telling us the news. We were so excited. The war had been going on my whole life up until then.


  3. I remember when the shuttle blew up. I was working for the FAA in Oklahoma City and listening to the radio. That particular show was always really jokey, so when they said the shuttle blew up, I didn’t believe it. I switched to another station and they said the same thing. I took off my headphones and told my disbelieving officemates. I cried. A lot.

    When 9-11 happened, I had just dropped ZBoy off at preschool and was going home to take a shower before work. Heard it on the radio. When I got home, I walked right past Darling Man and turned on the TV. He was demanding to know what was going on, but shut up as soon as the picture came on. We didn’t move off the couch all day until it was time to pick up the boy again. I don’t think anyone went to work. I cried. A lot.

    I hope I don’t have to cry at the TV or radio again for a long, long time.


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