(Props to Elizabeth for doing this first.)
My Mama sent me a print-out that reminds me how old I was when public events happened. Here's my walk down (mostly tragic) memory lane.
21 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
I was in a staff meeting, and while the rector had received a call from his wife letting us know that Something had happened, the gravity of the Something completely eluded us. We finished the meeting and I drove through the streets of Kent, wondering just what was making every single pedestrian look so shocked. I passed my friends' house, where we had just celebrated John Barber's 9/11 birthday the night before. The leftover bottle on the porch that I noticed on my way to the church now had a flower in it. I walked into my apartment just as the second tower fell.
19 years on the first day of Y2K
I was standing on a frozen lake in Michigan at the camp I worked at for two summers.
17 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
I was selling pretzels and $4 Cokes at Blossom Music Center that night. I don't remember which concert, although YES seems familiar.
14 years old at the time of Oklahoma City Bombing
As a sign of my self-absorption at age 14, I don't remember this very clearly at all. My clearer memories of this are 1) the Garth Brooks music video and 2) Being in Mexico when the federal government executed McVeigh, and realizing that there were absolutely no circumstances in which I could support the death penalty.
13 years old when O.J. Simpson was charged with murder
I remember seeing the white SUV racing along those ugly LA freeways (that I now know so well) on my parents' TV. The only thing I knew about O.J. Simpson was that he was some football player. The more distinct memory is Mrs. Horton cancelling class to watch the verdict, saying it was a "historic event."
12 years old at th time of the '93 bombing of the World Trade Center
My memory of this is of news footage of a woman covering her mouth and running.
10 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
This is weirdly intertwined with memories of my American Girl Doll, Molly. I'm pretty sure I received her for Christmas right before the war began. I remember having a sort of romantic notion of war that was surely rooted in the Molly books. I imagined that we would soon be planting our own victory garden. I also remember Marie wearing a yellow band on her arm, writing to my Scottish pen pal the night the war started, and a boy named Eric telling our fifth grade class that this war was Armageddon. I have absolutely no recollection of any anti-war sentiment, so I was completely surprised to find out that the Pilgrim Place folks with whom I protested the second Iraq war had been on the corner of Indian Hill and Arrow Highway in Claremont. CA every single Friday during Operation Desert Storm.
9 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
This also has a strange association: hot air balloons. I think my fourth grade teacher read us a story of someone escaping from East Germany by floating over the wall in a balloon. The mood of this memory is just that it was really really important, even though I didn't understand why.
5 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
I remember watching this on TV right before I was supposed to leave for afternoon kindergarten. I think my father came home from work early. And I remember seeing the footage again and again on the news that night, and being terribly sad that the teacher had died.
3 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
No memory. Although I do remember when a computer man brought us our first Apple, and all the wonderful Olympic games that came with it.