Looking back over my life so far, I realize that six events have had a profound effect on me. It is one thing to read about long-ago history in a text but quite another to live it, watch it unfold as it moves into the archives.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
I was a college freshman, away from home for the first time. As this news was breaking, I spent much time on the phone with my parents. Should I come home? Should I stay in Berkeley? I was young, scared, and wondering if the world was going to end.
The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy
The despair of dreams ripped apart was overpowering and stays with me still. What could have been? We'll never know.
Neil Armstrong's Moon
The moment did not seem real to me. I felt like I was watching a science fiction film; but what an amazing accomplishment.
The Explosion of the Challenger
I got news of this disaster as I stood outside my classroom, greeting my 4th graders in the cheerful sunlight of a typical California morning. A parent of one of my pupils came rushing up to me and whispered, "Did you hear...?" I hadn't. I turned into a statue, total stone inside my gut, wondering what to say to my young students, beginning the school day as we did every morning...with current events. Ohmygod.
Drinking my morning coffee as I watched the Today show, I could not comprehend what I was seeing. Like eveyone else, I at first thought it was an horrific accident. Speculation was rampant. Driving to school to begin my teaching day, some newsperson was glibly rattling on about rumors the Golden Gate Bridge was the next target. I was numb and just went about my day because I didn't know what else to do.
The Election of Barack Obama
Tears poured down my face as, glued to the TV, I watched the election results. When I awoke the next morning, I was afraid I had dreamed the whole thing, but it was true; and I was a witness to a huge happening, one that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.
These events are forever etched in my memory. I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and what I was thinking. The missile crisis, the assassinations, the Challenger disaster, and 9/11 caused me to feel fear, grief, and profound horror. With Armstrong's moon walk and Obama's election, I experienced joy, hope, disbelief, and amazement.
forever carved into my soul
The future? How about a woman president?
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.