Friday, February 1, 2013

Where Were You?

by Laura Bradford

I woke up this morning with the intention of writing this blog on my love of traveling. With a new book out in a little over four weeks, I've got lots of hotels and suitcases in my future.

Yet, when I jumped on the computer to write my post, I saw a picture of the Columbia crew from ten years ago and my plans for this blog changed instantly.

When tragedy strikes in a big way, it's inked on our brain in a way a run to the grocery store (even a really productive one) will never be. Where we were when we hear the news becomes as much a part of the memory as the tragedy, itself.


9/11...I was sitting in a chair in my bedroom with my youngest (she was just shy of 2) and we were watching Barney. A friend called to tell me what was happening (PBS doesn't break in) and to change the channel.

The Challenger Disaster:  I was a senior in high school and we watched the launch live. I remember looking at the teacher when the vapor trails split apart, wondering if that was supposed to happen...

Lady Di's death:  I was in Hawaii.

John F Kennedy Jr's Plane crash:   I was on vacation at the Jersey shore with my family. Saw the news on the hotel television.

When President Reagan was shot:   Was just home from school and watching General Hospital (I was in 7th or 8th grade).

Less tragic events but still big news...

OJ Simpson car chase:  Sitting in a Ground Round with my ex.

OJ Simpson won his court case:  At home with DD # 1 as a baby and crying as I told her she'd just seen her first injustice in life.

Michael Jackson:  On the way home from a trip with the family. We were in the car and approaching the city.

Yet ask me what I had for breakfast two days ago...and I've got nothing.

So how about all of you? Do you remember where you were for many of these?



  1. 9/11 - at work

    Challenger - in the cafeteria at IHS

    Lady Di - no idea.

    JFK Jr - no idea.

    Reagan - just got home from school

    Pope John Paul - in school @ St. Joseph's

    OJ car chase - watching the NBA and NHL playoffs at my parents in CT.

    OJ Verdict - in my apartment. Remember seeing a neighbor walking around with a handgun

    Michael Jackson - no idea

    Breakfast two days ago: bowl of cereal and OJ. :)

    1. Nice on the breakfast memory, smart aleck. :)

  2. I remember where I was for all of these events but a funny story: when Pope John Paul was shot, I was in high school at an all-girls Catholic school. The principal came over the loud speaker and said, "Ladies, please pray for our Holy Father. He has been shot" to which I exclaimed, "Who would shoot our school chaplain?!" My friend turned to me and said, "The Pope, you idiot. The Pope." My world was pretty small at that point. :-) Maggie

  3. 9/11 and Challenger, I definitely remember where I was and how I felt. Also,John Lennon, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK (see, I'm a little older). I think, after those last three it had to be something really big--like Challenger or 9/11--to make that kind of impact on me.

    1. I can't imagine how unnerving it must have been when the president was killed, Linda. Wow.

  4. 9/11 home and someone called to tell us to turn on TV.
    Home for all the others and saw them on TV. As far as OJ was concerned, heard one of the detectives on the case say that they had more evidence that he was the murderer than any other murder suspect ever.

    Home for JFK and Bobby Kennedy, but home was in Oxnard back them.

    1. Marilyn, that's why the moment that verdict came on the TV and we heard that miscarriage of justice, I can remember exactly where I was/what I thought.

  5. Challenger - at work. My son, about 10 at the time, was home sick that day and watching the launch on TV. He called to tell me the Space Shuttle had blown up. I tried to reassure him that he must have misunderstood. Then I went into the outer office and turned on the radio.

    9/11 - at the Red Cross. Mobilizing to respond even as the towers were coming down.

    President Kennedy's assassination - band room at high school, Robert Kennedy's assassination - driving to work.

    Too many of these memories.

    1. LD, wow on 9/11. So frightening. And what I remember about that day is how that feeling/that awareness lasted for days and weeks.

  6. At school for many of those. JFK, we were discussing Huckleberry Finn . . .
    Challenger, when a student walked in with the news, I told him that was not something to joke about. When I found out it was real, I apologized and he understood. My students wrote poems that day . . . good poems.
    O.J. verdict, my Shakespeare class begged to listen on the radio -- and then made comparisons to Othello.
    9/11 at school. Some classes went to the library to watch, mine didn't want to, so we stayed in my classroom and talked.

    1. Wow. You even remember what you were talking about with JFK!!

      It's amazing how that stuff sticks, isnt' it?

  7. Breakfast yesterday? A can of pringles.

    Now, that's memorable since usually it's instant oatmeal with a cup of fruit poured over it.

    Elvis died? Babysitting

    I kind of remember the television coverage of Bobby Kennedy's funeral.

    Challenger - at work. Two years before, I was working for the electrical bureau and had to go find my baby boy who was in day care when Idaho had the first earthquake I could remember.

    9/11 - at home, getting ready to leave for work and asking what movie the guys were watching on television.

    OJ, Michael, no clue.

    1. Interesting on the 9/11 memory, Lynn. It really was so surreal.

  8. 9/ the doctor's office

    The Challenger Disaster: at work

    Lady Di's death: can't remember

    John F Kennedy Jr's Plane crash: probably at home

    When President Reagan was shot: watching GH

    OJ Simpson car chase: don't remember

    OJ Simpson won his court case: at work

    Michael Jackson: on my way to a funeral wake

  9. Dru, I think may of us were watching GH when Reagan was shot. Me too!