Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you ... ...

... when FDR died?

We were living in Akron, Ohio. I was young, 7 or so, and didn't fully understand why everyone was so sad. There were tears on almost every face, including those of my parents. My goodness, but that was a long time ago! A different era.

... when you gave or received your first marriage proposal?

My soon-to-be fiance and I were sitting on a couch in a friend's home in Houghton, Michigan. In fact, I can remember the exact conversation! He said, "In a couple of weeks or so I might ask you to marry me. What would you say to that?" I answered, "Why don't you ask me and see?" After several seconds of absolute silence, he popped the question.

... when JFK was assassinated?

I was teaching 1st grade in Montmorenci, Indiana. The principal motioned me to come outside of the classroom. There he told me that the President had been shot, that it didn't look good. An hour or so later he came back and said that the President had died. It would be my discretion as to whether or not I should tell the children.

I did tell them. I don't remember exactly when, but it was before they went home for sure. This was on a Friday. They were sad, of course, to learn that someone had died.

A different era (and most certainly a different circumstance!) from that of FDR's death. Although I was probably a year or so older than they when FDR died, I was not subjected to the hour by hour day after day television images of Jackie weeping, 'John John' giving his mournful salute, Johnson being sworn in, the incessant replaying of both Connally and Kennedy actually getting shot, the caisson ... in fact, it was a very long weekend!

I still have, albeit somewhat frayed and barely staying together, artwork from when we all returned to the classroom ... the 'inside/outside' pictures that children of that age draw. Are you familiar with those? It's called, appropriately, "The Long Weekend."

... when the attacks on our country occurred?

I was driving one of my regular customers to the VA Hospital, where he worked. We had a regular routine that included listening to the radio. He liked certain stations, and so we were listening to one of his favorites when they broke in with the news that one of the World Trade Centers had been 'hit' by an airplane.

We were surprised. Initially, we thought, "What a terrible accident!" But then, before we got to the VA, the other World Trade Center building had been struck. We both knew then that it was no accident, but we were too much in a state of shock to register much else.

After dropping him off, I immediately drove to Hobby Airport, as per usual in those days. Everyone there was in a state of shock! The airport was a beehive of activity, and there wasn't much time to talk about what had happened. Taxicabs were being called up to the terminal to 'load' left and right ... not from passengers incoming, but from potential outgoing passengers who now had to be taken back to 'wherever' because their flights had been cancelled -- ALL flights had been cancelled, and those that were currently in the air were forced to land at the nearest airport. It was a nightmare!

My trip from the airport took me downtown, where I found people in an absolute state of panic. They were out in the streets frantically trying to flag down taxicabs to take them home. Would one of our tall buildings be next?

These "Where were you when's?" have been presented here in chronological order.

The 'marriage proposal' one I felt I had to include because that event produced my wonderful daughter.

We all remember where we were when certain profound events occurred in our lives, don't we?

I am not trying to dredge up bad memories of 9/11 with this post. Truly I'm not. However, there could not be a more appropriate date to publish these personal memoirs, would you not agree?

"Lest we forget."

1 comment:

Tammy said...

The history major in me thanks you for this post.

"Lest we forget."