What Were You Doing When

What were you doing when…?

Princess Diana died – 31 August 1997
I was seven months pregnant and couldn’t sleep. I went to the den, turned on the fan, and lay down on the couch to watch Saturday Night Live. I thought they were doing a sketch until I realized it was really the news.

The U.S. hockey team beat the Soviet Union team – 22 February 1980
Sitting in the floor of my parents’ den with my eyes glued to the set. It was the best hockey game EVER.

Anwar Sadat met Menachem Begin in Jerusalem – 19 November 1977
My father called me in the house from playing in the back yard to watch some big jet plane land on a runway and two men shake hands. I was upset because I wasn’t outside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

The World Trade Center was attacked – 11 September 2001
I was putting the expenses in a spreadsheet as the chair of the Christmas parade. I thought I heard a gas line explode somewhere in the neighborhood. I walked outside to see if I could see anything. My neighbor called me to come over. She said one of the towers had collapsed. I couldn’t believe it and ran to her house. We were both standing in her living room watching the news report when the second one collapsed.

President Kennedy was assassinated – 22 November 1963
For that one, I’ll have to pass. I wasn’t even a gleam in my father’s eye at that point in history.


  1. Princess Diana death: Up late, couldn't sleep, turned on the tv...

    U.S. Hockey Team: Watched the game with my parents.

    Sadat/Begin meeting: Oblivious. (I know, right? I watched hockey but not THIS?)

    9/11: At work,ended up watching tv all day in shock.

    Kennedy Assassination: First grade in Slidell, TX. Dad was supt. We had to close school because TxDPS thought LHOswald could be headed our direction. Parents freaking out. Lots of crying. Closed school again for the funeral, which I watched with my siblings and parents. More crying. Felt fear but didn't know why.

  2. Sept. 2001--teaching at school from which I later bolted (see 8/97 below)--I knew my older son was in NYC as a tourist--when all hell broke loose and I was unable to phone that son to verify his safety, I cried miserably in front of my classroom full of students--a day later I learned he had indeed planned to be up in the WTC at 9am that morning, but overslept and was not at Ground Zero
    Aug. 1997--reeling from my receipt of an e-mailed death threat from a 9th grade student of mine at a high school where I taught--I bolted and accepted a tchg position 2 another h/s to ease tensions for my wife and me
    Feb. 1980--selling real estate as a licensed salesperson (a 2nd job yet 40+ hrs. a week) for the first time, hoping to be in a goldmine
    Nov. 1977--working @ petrochemical plant as an hourly paid operator/technician with newborn daughter at home
    Nov. 1963--sitting in jr. h/s bandhall in shock, crying as announcement was made over school's public address speakers all over campus--JFK'd been in Houston (sort of "my town") only the previous night and I identified with his daughter Caroline who was close to my age