Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Days that will live in memory

While we've still got some time left in Pearl Harbor Day, I thought I'd throw this question out, gleaned from a comment on a friend's blog:

What's the earliest world event memory you have?

In a sense, I remember the election of 1984. I was in second grade and just about everyone in the 2nd grade favored re-electing Ronald Reagan. In fact, Mondale/Farrar probably got as many votes in my class as he did in all the rest of Ohio. However, it's not like I remember any specific event, like election day. Couldn't tell you a thing from memory.

So: the first world event memory I really have is of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. I had stayed home sick from school, I was watching the Scrabble game show, which was interrupted by news of the disaster. We were glued to the TV for the rest of the day and filled at least one VHS tape recording the news coverage. It seemed like the right thing to do, though I don't think we ever watched it again or even know what became of it.

Please do share your own memories.


  1. Of course I don't remember Pearl Harbor Day, but I do remember blackout curtains and being afraid of the dark, and, with the lights out, peeking around the curtains to see an official car with painted over headlights driving slowly down the street. I remember my mother explaining that we couldn't show any lights so "they" wouldn't know where to drop the bombs. I was so little, that none of it made any sense; I took it as given, and tried not to be afraid of the dark.

    I remember Eisenhower's election as President. I remember Sputnik and the shock when we realized we were not the center of everything.

  2. The lunar landing: I was six years old, and my mom, brother, and I went across the street to the neighbors' to watch it on their color TV. My brother (who was nine) recorded the audio of it with his cassette recorder, certain he was creating valuable documentation of the event.

  3. Speaking of Eisenhower, I just saw an interview with a husband and wife who've written a book on Eisenhower: the husband is Ike's grandson and the wife is Nixon's daughter. I suppose they would be well placed to write that book.

  4. I think the first world event that I clearly remember is the election of JFK. I was 8 and attending a Catholic school -- it was a huge deal that the US might actually elect a Catholic as president of the US!

  5. Challenger for me too.

  6. October, 1981. I was eleven, and I don't remember what I was doing, but I remember my mother shrieking in the living room, and then calling me to join her as we watched news coverage: Anwar Sadat had just been assassinated.

  7. I just discovered your blog, so this comment is a bit late.

    Pearl Harbor day was a Sunday, and we were at my maternal grandparents' house. The adults were sitting around smoking and talking, with the radio on in the background.

    When the program was interrupted for the bulletin about Pearl Harbor the whole mood changed. I knew something really serious had happened.

    The following week in school we began air raid drills andd all sorts of other stuff.

    Nowadays hardly anyone thinks about Pearl Harbor, when world war reached across the ocean to the U.S.

  8. I remember Eisenhower's election because I felt like the only kid in school who WASn't wearing an "I Like Ike" button. I remember Kennedy's run for the vice presidency. I remember atom bomb tests and how we thought they were exciting. We had no clue...