You know how there are events that you remember forever? You remember where you were, what you were doing, how you felt?
Ask anyone born before 1955 what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot and they'll tell you where they were and how they felt.
I remember in 1980 when Mount St. Helens errupted. I was eating breakfast and watching a variety type show called "Kids are people Too." They interrupted the show and said it was happening. I don't recall any images shown at that time. I remember being scared, even though the mountain was a long ways away, it was still in the same state. Later our grass would be covered in ash.
I remember walking through the upstairs commons area of my Doherty High School Library in 1986 and seeing the space shuttle with the teacher on it blowing up. I remember feeling such sadness for her and the "real" astronauts. I remember thinking it was a joke, waiting for a punch line, like it was a Saturday night Live skit or a David Letterman stunt.
In 1997 when Princess Di died, my old chum Jo was visiting Robert and I in Austin. We were settling down to watch Saturday Night live when the news broke in about the accident. We were giggling and waiting for the joke, it wasn't a joke. For whatever reason her death astounded me. I thought of her young children and her legacy of community service
Jo and I both felt bad for laughing.
Most recently I remember where I was and what I was doing when the news showed Columbine ten years ago today. I was holding my six month old Quentin and David was playing nearby. We were visiting mom and dad in Austin. I was sitting on mom's pink chair and Quentin was nursing. I dont' remember what was on tv when they broke in. I just remember crying and holding the babies close. I couldn't then and still have trouble beleiving that children can be pushed so far and react with such violence. I thought at that moment I would never allow my children to go to school. I remember thinking how bizaare that the kids had cell phones- I did not even have a cell phone at that time- I'll never forget the "boy in the window." I remember thinking that this could never happen again, and yet it has. And it happens often enough that it becomes kind of second nature to us.
Is it horrifying anymore? Do we even remember the names of the other schools and the other perpetrators or victims? Virginia Tech comes to my mind, but nothing else.