Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do something good

Why is it only the bad days that stick in our collective memory.

November 22. It's STILL one of those days. In 1963 I was in the second grade lined up (arms distance) to come in from recess at Our Lady of Mercy School when Father Power came out of the Rectory and said something to the nuns. I remember one nun started to cry. I had never seen a  nun cry and was amazed by that.

We filed inside and learned the President Kennedy had been shot. We watched the television on the large rolling stand in the classroom. When they said he died, they sent us home. I remember walking home in an eerie quiet. There were no cars on Southgate Avenue, something I then thought of as a busy street. I remember thinking my dad was going to be mad about this, because when you are seven years old your entire world is your parents world.

 I don't know why I was walking alone, not that I was concerned about that. It was a calmer time and seven year olds walked home alone all the time. I just wonder why my sisters weren't with me. Three of us went to the same school. Maybe they sent the little kids home first. Funny, I remember some things so crystal clear and cannot explain others.

What amazes me is that you have to be about my age to even remember that day at all. It was day that changed everything and no one under 50 could possibly remember. Weird.  My parents spoke of Pearl Harbor but that was ancient history when I was a kid. Same effect here.

There have been other days. Everybody remembers where they were when the space shuttle exploded and, of course, nothing can compare to September 11. But that was 10 years ago and probably anyone under 13 doesn't remember that. Time marches on. New things happen to define our world.

Maybe the next one will be something good.

Do something good today.


  1. I was a two-month old baby, so I don't remember that at all. It's interesting, though, how there's sort of a collective consciousness that enables one to "remember" in a way.

    I sure hope better things are in store. Yogis say that the Age of Aquarius began on November 11th and that's a good thing.

  2. I WILL do something good today, thank you for the inspiration!

  3. I like your blog and I usually agree with your view of things. However, I disagree with your comment that "it was a calmer world" in 1962.
    I am about your age (I was in first grade when President Kennedy was shot.) I remember feeling sorry for Caroline and wondering if she would still get to keep her pony, Macaroni. Kids tend to focus on the oddest things.
    What people don't recall when reminiscing about the "calm and safe" time of the early sixties is that it was a turbulent and violent period when nuclear annhilation seemed all too possible, racial violence was escalating, houses were painted with lead paint, cars had no seatbelts and everybody was inhaling tons of secondhand cigarette smoke.
    Yet we look back at that time as safe, largely, I think because we survived it.
    The past seems better than it was due to nostalgia. In truth, the media has whipped us into a trembling frenzy of fear over things that are statistically VERY unlikely to happen. The stranger leaping from the bushes, the terrorist bomb have us in such fear that we won't allow our kids to walk to school alone and we are forced to take of our shoes and be body-scanned at the airport. We have become sheep.
    Enough rant.


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