What History Did You Live Through?

In 1985 I attended a Friends General Conference in Pennsylvania. and signed up for an Autobiographical Writing workshop.  We were asked to recall  our experience of historical events during our lifetime.

I recalled the bombing of Pearl Harbor (my parents brought me to the radio to hear in 1940).

The death of Roosevelt in 1944.

Atom Bomb dropping in 1945

Listening to news of the Bay of Pigs invasion on a city bus in Atlanta, in 1961.

Watching news about the assasination of Kenned, and the shooting of Oswald. (Was it live? It seems so).  1963

The assasination of Martin Luther King in 1964.

Segregation in the South. (A family from the Mule Train stayed overnight with us in Atlanta.)   1968

Watching the First Man on the Moon on tv 1969

OTHERS’ MEMORIES

I took brief notes from the memories of other workshop members:

Berlin Air Lift, spring 1948

During the communistic liberation in China in 1949,  saw several professors conscripted to carry baggage for the national soldiers. Students identified the professors and tok their places due to respect, To avoid looting, the town prepared food for the fleeing national soldiers.

On a train in Japan when the civil rights movement was going on.

In October of 1929, was 9 years old and riding a bike during the collapse of the stock market.  Parents looking glum, strained. A neighbor, an officer in a bank, shot himself.

One post-sputnik Christmas one woman received a chemistry set. The next spring the family drove four hours to the National Science Fair in Washington, D.C.

Mother crying at Kennedy’s assasination in 1963.

In 1939, while in nurses training, reading of SS troopers breaking the glass of Jewish merchants. The article was titled “The Night of the Broken Crystals.”

Execution of the Rosenbergs–the family was early friends of the Rosenbergs.  “Ethel’s not going to leave her kids for an idea.”

Recalling when Nixon and Reagan were elected.

The Depression:  “Use it up, wear it out, or do without.”  The thrill of getting new fabric for a dress from an aunt.  A visit to Hoover Village.

Tornado May 5, 1936. He was a teacher at a school in Tupelo, Miss. It got dark early–lightning, noise, hailstones. He held on to a lawn chair, then let it go.  At 9 p.m. it was lit clearly.  No injuries at the school.  Fires were beginning around the school, but rain began and stopped the fires.  Destruction in town.  He helped drain hot water tanks for  first aid victims.  There was a half mile or desruction.

July 3, 1929 (56 years ago, in 1985)  Navajo Reservation.  They were holding a sing.  They played a game where a rock buried in the sand was picked up on horseback.  The Choca Canyon bridge washed out.

Geraldine Ferarro’s nomination.

Dartmouth College student pacifists. Interviewing William Buckley on Pacifists.  Passing out cigars to celebrate the Cuban revolutiion. (David Greenstein).

Viet Nam war. Daughter going with draft dodging boyfriend to Canada with Peaceniks.

Anyone want to share any of their historical memories?

My parents took us to Florida to watch the launch of Apollo 11. Even miles away, we felt the mighty Saturn rocket in our bodies. As significant as that historic event was, I recall the experience for personal reasons. With the vibrations resonating inside of me, it was the only time as a child I acknowledged my chest. In my young mind, chests were the possessions of “real boys”, a class I was excluded from.–owningitlog

 

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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2 Responses to What History Did You Live Through?

  1. owningitlog says:

    My parents took us to Florida to watch the launch of Apollo 11. Even miles away, we felt the mighty Saturn rocket in our bodies. As significant as that historic event was, I recall the experience for personal reasons. With the vibrations resonating inside of me, it was the only time as a child I acknowledged my chest. In my young mind, chests were the possessions of “real boys”, a class I was excluded from.

    Liked by 1 person

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