Friday, January 28, 2011

Where were YOU?

The title is part of a tweet that went around today, in reference to today being the 25th anniversary of the explosion of the Space Shuttle. It was all the rage up here when it happened, mostly because one of the Astronauts was from Maine. Until that point, Maine didn't get much press. Just lobstahs, paper mills, L.L. Bean, and the UMaine Black Bears hockey team. Other than that...not much else. Okok, fine. Blueberries, too. Happy? Moving on.
So, where was I? THAT is easy. I was sitting in the office of my high school. Why? Was i volunteering to help the secretary answer phones, make copies, or something nice like that? Well, although i did do those things, this is not why I was in the office on this day, 25 years ago. This time I was sitting in the office, on in-school suspension, on trumped up charges. Yes, folks, that's right. I was wrongly accused of being bad (this time. most of the time the charges were accurate (sorry, Mom!))
Here's how it all went down:
I was in the library with a few of my friends. Of course, we were studying. What else is there to do? Apparently we were being TOO LOUD for the librarian (who was affectionately known as "Gram", since she was as old as dirt. on a side note, i just found out today that she is STILL THERE (yes, alive) and fills in as librarian once and a while. wow. she's gotta be ancient by now. anyway....). Gram kicked me out. Just me. There had to be at least 3 others who were making noise, but she picked ME. Sad. She told me to go down to the office for the rest of the period since I couldn't conduct myself appropriately in her library.
So i left. She was standing behind the desk (which was standing height. who knew that our little school was so far ahead of it's time?), and as i walked by, i lobbed a magazine at the desk. Of course, it slid across the desk and came to rest right in front of her. I don't even think it put a wrinkle in her cardigan. I walked down to the office.
I was met in the lobby by the principal (who we were convinced was having an affair with Gram, and they both knew our suspicions), and he explained to me that I had 'really done it this time' (or something like that. cut me some slack, it has been 25 years for goodness sake!). Surprised, but not really, I said something like, "why Sir, what do you mean?" (exercising poetic license here. again, cut me some slack.) He proceded to tell me that I was now the proud recipient of an in-school suspension, and had won the right to spend the remainder of the day sitting in the office, in a chair, staring at the wall. No classes, no homework, no interaction. He went to get my hot-lunch and brought it to me (who's the real victime there?)
Anyway, while I was sitting there, banging my desk and screaming, "ATTICA, ATTICA, ATT-I-CA!" news came over the crackly radio that the shuttle had blown up. I was sent running to the AV closet to wheel in the TV. we set it up (no cable in those days, just rabbit ears!) and watched coverage. It was a relatively quiet time in the school for the rest of the day, but for most of us it wouldn't be until we got home that we were able to see coverage of the explosion. I'll never forget the "Y" shaped vapor trails....

so where were YOU? not just for this event, but for all of the other big events? your first race? your decision to lose weight and gain fitness? where were you when you decided to get on board with this whole blogging thing? in the shower? stuck in traffic?
so many things happen to us every day that seem so trivial at the time and when we look back at our lives, we tend to think of the things that were significant. Those are often tied to memories like mine, above.
I think that we need to strive harder to make more significant memories, and less of the ones that just take up time.
Good guest on Oprah today? maybe. Having your 4 year old school you in UNO? Unforgettable.


  1. I was in the meat department of Safeway.

  2. My main memory of that time is the lump in my throat when watching Jean Michel Jarre play at Houston that year. Ron McNair, one of the Challenger crew, was due to play saxophone live from the Challenger at the concert. The piece he had planned to solo on, 'Last Rendez-Vous', became more of a requiem for a lost friend.
    Jules (@2011miles)

  3. I never know that about JMJ Jules. I used to love his stuff. Haven't heard it for ages til now.
    As for me and the shuttle... I can just remember watching endless slow motion and highly zoomed in repeats of the launch, trying to work out what went wrong.

  4. I was in junior high. For reason we ere off that day (snowday?) and I was dancing to the TV (MTV maybe?). Newsbreak came through (on MTV?) and I heard the news. Changed the channel to news channel and saw it all on repeat. Very sad. I'll never forget it.