Memories of my past
A while back the New Yorker magazine ran an article on memory. It showed the ways in which we change our memories of the past events that were high points in our lives.
The famous ones were mentioned, and the statements given at the time were saved to compare with the later opinions of what each person did.
There was quite a discrepancy.
My memories of famous events start with the ending of WWII.
Since no one ever took my statement of where or with whom I shared this experience. It will have to stand on its merits.
When the Knightsen fire station blew the whistle for the ending of the war in Japan, I was outside in the backyard. I was all of six years old, and knowing that something extraordinary had happened.
I must have been informed by my Mom that the end of the war was why the siren sounded, and that we could end our rationing and plane watching.
The next event that everyone remembers but not exactly was the death of our President Kennedy.
I was on the third floor of the Education building at San Francisco State University listening to the instructor dealing with educational problems in elementary schools.
Someone came in and announced that the President had been shot. Then he rolled in a portable television, and turned it on.
I asked to be excused to be able to go home and tell my husband. We were worried about the stock market in those times of trouble, even though we had such a small amount invested.
I drove home to Pacifica and woke my husband and then watched television for the whole rest of the weekend.
There can be no mistake on this memory, as there were many people involved in the moment.
By the time the Challenger exploded midflight, I was already divorced and living in a one room motel in California City, where I worked for a tow service. We launched sailplanes with tow -planes and my job was to hold the wing tip and run alongside the plane until there was pilot control.
On the day that the explosion took place I was at home in my one room when one of the tow pilots came and knocked on my door. At first I thought it was simply a scare story, but then I looked at the television again.
Again, I had someone bring me the news so that there was no mistake on the memory and plenty of witnesses.
I can’t remember what I did later except maybe go over to the office and café to share the pain with all the pilots at the airport.
On September 11, 2001 it was a different story. In that case I was practically an eye witness.
I had been working as a librarian in the Queensborogh Public Library since 1998. We had two days off a week, and sometimes worked Sunday.
I was planning on having guests from California visit and needed to buy some mattresses for them. I changed days off so that I could be there for the delivery man.
Since Tuesday was my alternate day off, I was out on my third floor balcony enjoying the mild weather and listening to the classical radio station. The female announcer said the there had been “a catastrophe” at the World Trade Center.
Since I was looking north and not West, I did not see the towers, but after I turned on the television, and found a working station, I got to see the full horror.
Later, I went down to the bay shore and took a picture in between attacks. These photos show only one tower producing the smoke plume.
I stopped by my friend Pat’ s apartment to see if she wanted to come out to the bay and watch with me, but she acted nervous and declined.
I phoned my daughter in Apple Valley, Ca. to tell her that I was fine and not to worry. She did not know what I was talking about. When I asked her if she was watching television she claimed that she never watched in the daytime.
I wrote to my friends in California asking if they still wanted to come and visit me in New York, and they said they would come. We had a fine but subdued trip up to Vermont after attending the Halloween Parade the City.
With the exception of the first memory, all these events came to us via the television coverage, so our memories can be imprinted indelibly.