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Where Were You:

When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980) In junior high school, sitting in class; my English teacher told us that it had happened. We'd been anticipating it, as we'd been discussing the fact that it was expected to blow earlier in the week. (I learned that Reagan had been shot in front of that same building as we waited for the bus at 2:40, and I learned that John Lennon had died upon arriving at school early the morning after it happened, when a number boys who wouldn't normally have been caught dead crying in front of anyone were crying together in front of their lockers.)

When Anwar Sadat was assassinated (6/10/1981) I learned that Sadat had been assassinated in U.S. history class in tenth grade. We walked in, sat down, and our teacher said, "Sadat was assassinated this morning. How will this affect the Middle East?" We sat and discussed it for half an hour before he realized that we were all assuming that this was a hypothetical class assignment and not something that had, in fact, happened, and he put on the radio. There were a lot of very upset people after that.

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986) Working at the University of Pennsylvania newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. The executive editor came out of his office to tell us; we thought at first that it was a sick joke on his part, then a sick joke on the part of someone working at the Associated Press. And then we left, since there was no television in the building, and went to a dorm to watch.

When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989) Watching the World Series with my fiance (now my husband) and friends from the graduate English program at the University of Maryland. We saw it live on television when the network lost their feed.

When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989) I don't remember where I was when I first heard that it was happening; I remember, at some point later, standing in the kitchen of our apartment in Bethesda, Maryland listening to the TV in the other room and thinking about the fact that while I was growing up, I had truly expected there to be a nuclear war during my lifetime between NATO and the Soviet bloc, and the Soviet bloc was disappearing as we watched.

When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991) I don't remember where I was when it began; what I remember is sitting in an evening English class at the University of Chicago fifteen minutes after the first reports came in that Iraq was bombing Israel, listening to an endless lecture on some Modernist poet and thinking that academia was utter bullshit. I ended up blowing out early to go watch the news; I couldn't stand sitting there.

When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994) We were at my husband's family reunion in Eugene, Oregon. As people arrived, they convened in Aunt Jean's room, around the television. I couldn't really watch because I had a crawling baby to follow. It still seems very surreal.

When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995) I'm not sure where I was when the actual bombing took place; I had been out someplace during the day, turned on the afternoon news and there it was.

When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997) We were watching a movie on video -- I can't remember which -- and when we turned it off, the news was reporting that Diana had been seriously injured in a car accident. We learned that she had died before we went to bed.

When the shootings at Columbine occured (25/05/1999) Out doing stuff with my kids; I didn't even hear about it until the evening news, as we never turned the news on during the day then, so the kids wouldn't get to witness such things.

When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000) We stayed up till two a.m. with "Too Close To Call" flashing on the screen and then woke up a few hours later to the same image. My friend Veronica was in Washington from London and had stayed up much of the night in a bar in DC watching people watch the news; we met for lunch and discussed our certainty that one way or another Bush would manage to be handed the election. I honestly don't remember where I was when the announcement was made, because I'd been bracing myself for it and wasn't in the least surprised, just miserable.

When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001) I've posted about this here.

When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003) Sitting at this computer, reading my morning e-mail, which included the alert from The Washington Post with the news. I shrieked, "The space shuttle blew up!" and my husband thought I was having some kind of strange flashback to Challenger. I got up and turned on the TV, and there it was.

My Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 68%
Visual : 31%
Left : 55%
Right : 45%

You are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.

My Personality Disorders:


On Memory, Kids and Friendship

This morning my husband took our older son to school at the usual time, while I took our younger son somewhat later, as he had a bathroom emergency just when it was time to walk out the door. This is the second day in a row the boys have not gone to school together, since the older one had an early field trip yesterday. As we were walking, the younger one asked me when he and his brother would be in school together again after this year -- they are three years apart, the older one will be going to middle school next year, and not the neighborhood school as he was accepted into the math/science magnet program. Without thinking I said, "ninth grade," which may not even be true -- it's possible that either one of them could end up at a magnet high school -- and at the same time it hit me that saying "ninth grade" to a second grader is rather equivalent to saying "when you're an adult." It's a million years away. Then he asked if they would go to college together, and I explained that I wasn't sure, because my sister and I did not go to the same college.

And I got really sad, because it's obvious that he was asking this question with regret. My sister and I were not at all close growing up (I was a geek, she was a pommie, and we were four years apart in school -- I was careful to try to plan my second child so that my kids would be no more than three years apart, not that life always lets one control that). But my two sons are very close, so much so that they play together at recess when the second and fifth grades are out at the same time, along with their friends, and there's a big crossover list for their birthday parties of boys who come to both. They have walked to and from school together every day since the younger one started public school, with the exception of a couple of sick days and yesterday because of the field trip. That is all going to change in the fall, when they're in different schools.

As it turns out there was no crisis this morning because my younger son's best friend's mother came driving by, taking her son to school, and asked if my son wanted to ride with them, which of course he did. (For those who have been reading this journal for awhile, this is the boy from Venezuela whose mother works at the embassy, who was supposed to move back last summer, thus causing great grief and consternation among both my children who are very close to him, and then two months later the Venezuelan government asked the mother to return to work in the U.S. and the little boy turned up grinning on our doorstep, having moved a block away from where he had lived the previous two years.) Both my kids have had a large number of friends not born in this country, a function of living our neighborhood, which I love, but they've also had several traumatic cases of friends moving away...and in these cases the kids were moving to Japan, New Zealand and Mexico, not two states away where there was some chance of visiting.

Meanwhile I've tried writing to the friends from New Zealand, but the e-mail address they left when they moved doesn't work anymore and they had said they'd write with their address once they were settled...and we haven't heard from them. I am trying not to take this too terribly personally; I know they have moved several times for career reasons, and during the last six months they were here I felt that the mother of my son's best friend, with whom I'd been friendly, though not actually really close, was deliberately distancing herself from me, which I would probably find necessary too if I were moving halfway around the world, though perhaps I simply did something that irritated her (or perhaps she holds my president against me; I wouldn't blame her). But I feel terribly for my son, not having any way to put him in touch with the boy who was his best friend for three years. He's coping well with this, and unlike two years ago when he refused to consider attending a magnet school because they would have been separated, he's willing to go to the middle school next year because a couple of other kids from his math class were accepted. But I'm still sad about that too.

I don't think I realized until recently how many permanent situations I maintained the feeling were temporary. My sister and I are never going to live in the same house, nor likely the same state, again, and we haven't since 1984 for all pracatical purposes; yet I still feel like any morning I could wake up and fight with her about the breakfast dishes. My college roommate and I are never going to share an apartment and I haven't even spoken to her on the phone in a month but I still keep thinking I'm going to see her this afternoon or the next and catch up on everything. And there are things I think to remember to tell my grandfather who died in 1990.