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Where were you meme - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Where were you meme
Nicked from kelleypen

1. When John F. Kennedy was shot (22/11/1963)
Not born yet. I understand my mother was in eighth grade gym class at the time.

2. when the San Fernando Valley was hit with a huge quake (9/2/1971)
I was a little over a year old, so I'd have been in Buffalo, New York.

3. When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980)
Perry, NY. End of fourth grade, Dr. Margaret's class (in a state school in Geneseo). I remember the pictures, but I don't really remember how I felt.

4. When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986)
I was home sick and watching TV when it happened live. This one really stabbed me in the gut--I love the space program, and both my favorite teacher and the sister of a friend had applied to be the teacher in space.

5. When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989)
Sophomore year in college (Tufts University). I heard about it when I went into the dining hall and looked at the bin of newspapers, and it was there on the cover. Then I noticed people running around frantically trying to reach people in San Fran.

6. When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989)
Watching in disbelief that it was actually happening.

7. When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991)
In an apartment in Medford that I shared with five girls I didn't know very well, all of whom had different politics than I did, but at the time, we were just watching in confusion. Though I do remember that there was enough warning that people made gallows jokes about "tuning in to catch the war" or some such thing. The protests had been going on for awhile, though the "Stop the War Before It Starts" rally had to be re-christened. Lots of chalk-mark body outlines, with "How Many Bodies to the Gallon?" flyers.

8. When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994)
At my mother's apartment in Buffalo, watching with everyone else. Buffalo was rooting for OJ to be innocent, since he was a Bill and considered a local hero.

9. When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995)
Also in the Buffalo apartment. We were waiting for my grandmother and her husband to arrive (he was having chemo and they came every couple of weeks) and when they got there, I had to stop watching to help with the luggage. When I got back upstairs, Grandma had found out and was crying about the kinds of things people did to each other.

10. When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
Albuquerque. At first, the news wasn't terribly clear, but it was constant. I was never a big Princess Di fan, to tell the truth, but I couldn't stop remembering the pretty wedding, which I'd gotten up to watch (I was staying at my aunt's for that), and feeling absolutely horrible for her children, who were being put through this on international television. I was very impressed with their behavior over the following days, but would have preferred to be kept in the dark about it if it meant that the bloody press would leave them the hell alone.

11. When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
No idea, honestly. I mean, Boston, and just starting at the library, but it had all been dragging on so long that I just didn't care any more. I wasn't enthused by either guy, though I'd voted Gore. All I really remember about the election was the actual election night, when a Nader supporter was going up and down the lines saying, "Guys, nothing's going to stop Massachusetts from being a Gore state... why not register a protest vote?"

12. When the 6.8 earthquake hit Nisqually, WA (28/2/2001)
Working at the library. No real impressions.

13. When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
At work. My colleague had been in a meeting with our boss about getting some funding. An e-mail came out saying, "Due to the events in New York and Washington, security will be checking all bags for people entering the library." They didn't clarify what events. I went on a web-trawl to find out what was happening, and discovered CNN crashed. I finally found our local NBC affiliate still working and got the details, and when my colleague came back, I went on break. Everyone seemed very dazed and was talking about how it didn't seem like something that could really be happening. We all assumed that we were going to be sent home, but the mayor decreed that city services would remain open. I had to go to a desk for an hour that didn't have an internet connection, and I don't think I've ever spent a longer hour at work--totally disconnected from the incoming news. I nearly snapped at tourists who came in, wanting to know if the Museum of Fine Arts was still open, as, since they were stuck here, they needed something to do. That night, I took a cab home, and the rumors that it was Islamist terrorists were already coming in. My cab driver was Arab and seemed very nice, and I remember worrying that it wasn't a safe day for him to be picking up strangers in his car.

14. When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
I actually didn't hear about it until later, and my reaction was surprisingly muted.

15. Where were you when John Lennon was shot? (December 8, 1980)
Living in Perry, fifth grade. It was a cold morning when I found out, and I had my radio on while I got dressed standing on a heat vent with my doors (closet and bedroom) turned in toward each other to make a private warm cubicle. My mother was rushing around getting ready for work. She was a huge Beatles fan and we often had Beatles music in the house, and because she wasn't listening to the radio, I was the one who had to tell her. She didn't believe me at first.

I'll skip the other missing things.
6 comments or Leave a comment
ladyelaine From: ladyelaine Date: July 22nd, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Y'know, I'd do this, except that most of my answers (at least for the ones after I'd been born) woulda been "In my living room."

Yup, I get out a lot.
veryshortlist From: veryshortlist Date: July 22nd, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember that I was home watching tv when Columbia crashed and burned. It was so funny too, because a couple of teachers of mine made such a big deal about Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli guy in space. And he ended up scattered over twenty miles of Texas.

I was in sixth grade when Bush was elected president the first time. I didn't care. I was at some nature retreat with my class.
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: July 22nd, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was getting married the day Columbia went down. We took pictures of the flags at half mast to show our kids.
kat_denton From: kat_denton Date: July 23rd, 2005 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
just a couple of short comments

1) Kennedy - in third grade - reading class. The principal was observing and the school secretary came running down the hall, hysterical, "My God, My God, they've shot the president". Burned into my memory.

2) Columbia - pregnant with the Marine!Goth, at work. The radio DJ I was listening to had a reputation for tasteless jokes. Which I though it was for the first split second until the actual tone of his voice registered.

3)OK City - home sick that day. Walt called me from work and just said "Turn on CNN" and hung up.

4) 9/11 - At work, about to leave for the airport. I called Walt (he was scheduled to go back to work that day - after his first hospitalization) and said "Turn on CNN" and hung up. I didn't even realize the parallel until he mentioned it later. Needless to say I DROVE to Tulsa the next day.

Most of the earthquake things are just news blips for somebody in the center of the US, just like our tornados and floods are for somebody on the coast. Important at the time, but not enough to brand themselves onto my memory with the intensity of the four above.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 24th, 2005 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)


For 9/11, I was in the maternity ward with my wife, where we were waiting for our turn in the OR for a planned C-section. My wife heard the nurses buzzing about a terrorist attack, and got worried, since we live in Israel, and such things were hitting right and left near home. I called my father just to let him know how things were with us, and he responded distractedly "Do you know what's going on?" When I replied in the negative, he tried to claim that we shouldn't know till after the delivery. When I insisted, he told me - and I don't think I really believed until I found the neares room with a TV, and found everyone staring at CNN.
During the C-section, my wife complained that the surgical team seemed more focused on the towers (which had collapsed by then) than on the surgery. There was a TV with CNN in the surgical ready room visible from the OR...
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: July 30th, 2005 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Showing my age here, I am. I'll start with the first one I remember.

When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995)
I was seven. It was my classmate's birthday, and he'd brought cookies.

When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
I remember seeing pictures of her wedding, which was gorgeous, and I remember being confused about how she'd actually died. Elton John singing the rewritten version of "Candle in the Wind." And those poor boys having to go through the whole thing on international television. My mom was devestated. She went and dragged up the picture of JFK Jr saluting his dad at the funeral procession and was just generally in tears.

When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
In seventh grade. Our history class had been following the whole recount fiasco, and when the announcement was finally made our teacher looked at us and said, "You might not realize it now, but this is a piece of history. This has never happened before. It's one of those things that you tell your children about when you're older." I didn't quite believe her, and I'm still not sure that I do.

When the 6.8 earthquake hit Nisqually, WA (28/2/2001)
I haven't the foggiest. I live in Wisconsin, so I didn't really care.

When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
In eighth grade. I had a math test up at the high school that morning, miscommunicated with the other two eighth-graders in the class about where we were meeting to walk back to the grade school (it was about eight blocks) and we ended up being almost half an hour late. No one cared. My mom was teaching down the hall, and a kid came into her class late who had heard, so the younger kids knew before we did. Our principal came down to the lunchroom and told everyone fourth grade and up. I think the decision was made to keep it from the little kids until their parents could tell them. There was only one TV on our floor with good reception, so eighty-five people crammed in to watch. After school I went home and kicked my brother and sisters (ages 10, 9, and 7 at the time) out of the room so I could watch CNN.

14. When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
I was at choir retreat (read: six hours of rehearsal a day) at a local summer camp. We only had one television and it didn't work. Our male minority (one guy my age plus the accompanist) rigged something up out of tin foil so we could get Bush's speech.
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