What’s The First News Story You Remember?

by Honolulu Mother

This Deadspin (Gawker affliate) item asked its readers what was the first big news story they were aware of as kids:

What’s The First Big News Story You Were Aware Of As A Kid?

Judging by the comments, either the Challenger explosion or the first Gulf War was the first memorable news story for many readers. Totebag readers probably skew older, though.

For me, it was Watergate. I think my parents had as much fun trying to explain that one as they did answering my question about whether Watership Down was about bunnies, or people. (“Well, it is about bunnies, but it’s really about people.” DID NOT COMPUTE.)

How about the rest of you? What was your first news story?

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141 thoughts on “What’s The First News Story You Remember?

  1. Definitely JFK assassination. I didn’t really entirely understand what was going on, but I watched the funeral on TV and I knew everyone around me seemed really freaked out and upset.

  2. The end of the war in Vietnam (or the US pulling out or something – I was maybe 4?).

    I also remember my mother being absolutely appalled that my grandmother voted for Nixon in 1972.

  3. Challenger. We watched it on tv and my teacher didn’t know what to do and started crying.

  4. My cousins and myself made up a game where would hang a pillow from a hook in the ceiling and then all the kids would punch it. Years later I realized that the game was linked to the hanging of the Pakistani President.
    I also recall a time when the Prime Minister of India was scheduled to speak at a rally near my grandparents house. All of us were gathered on the topmost terrace to watch her. The crowd below was huge. She made her way to the podium and the crowd was surging towards her. She had hardly taken the stage when people started throwing shoes at her. She was furious and departed. When I was older, I learnt that she had declared a state of emergency and thrown the opposition in jail.

  5. The ’82 World Series (does that count?) I lived in the losing city & was devastated.

    The next ones are in ’84 – the Olympics and Reagan’s re-election
    The 1984 Olympics (Mary Lou Retton, the first women’s marathon where the one competitor passed out at the very end, Carl Lewis, etc)

    The ’84 Election – I remember how excited some of the women in my family were for Geraldine Ferraro (even the Republicans), the big map turning all red on Election night.

    I was in 4th grade for the Challenger, and we were watching it live on TV in an all-school assembly like a lot of schools because of the teacher going into space.

    We’ve been asking our family members about this because of the Deadspin article/Twitter offshoots, and it’s been really interesting.

  6. JFK assassination. I was an afternoon kindergartner, so I was at home watching morning kid TV when my show was interrupted with the news.

  7. Being a little older, I remember Martin Luther King, JR’s speech “I have a dream” I lived in Delaware at the time, and was only 5. I lived with my grandparents, and was not aware of their feelings towards blacks. I would find that out years later. I wish he’d lived, and maybe run for president.

  8. The moon landing in 1969 was huge. I only have vague memories of 1968 hippies, rhe Vietnam war, riots, and assassinations. Back then, parents who didn’t have the tv on all of the time could keep their kids in a sort of bubble that is impossible today. My friends with older siblings were more aware of news events.

  9. I remember yellow ribbons hung on trees, but not really understanding why. Gas lines, Reagan being elected, Mt. St. Helen’s erupting, the wedding of Charles and Diana, Iran-Contra and watching Oliver North being questioned in Congressional hearings, lots of news about AIDS, and Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board and the Challenger disaster.

    The Challenger disaster was probably the most impactful because I remember watching it in school.

    Greg Louganis was a big moment because my mom and I had a big ugly fight about it.

  10. I remember hearing about Challenger because my siblings were in elementary school, but I guess I was only 3 at the time

  11. An exciting event that I remember was the visit of Pope John Paul II. I saw him close up but he was in his Popemobile and that as a kid was pretty exciting.

  12. It’s so interesting to me how people just a couple years older than me remember events that happened when I was 5 or 6 that I just do not remember at all – like Reagan & Lennon being shot, the royal wedding, Mt St Helens, etc.

  13. It’s interesting that Challenger is such a big event, but Columbia blew up on re-entry and I’d bet most people wouldn’t recall that. I know, I know, teacher in space, big PR blitz from NASA, happened on live TV, “slipped the surly bonds of Earth…”

    I was skiing at Gore Mountain when someone in the lift line mentioned that the shuttle (Columbia) exploded.

  14. Ivy- I have older siblings, so I definitely remember watching the royal wedding with my sister. It was a big event.

    (I also recall watching Luke & Laura’s wedding on General Hospital and their time on a tropical island thanks to my sister.)

  15. MLK being assassinated. We lived in Houston then, and the dad of the neighbor family was happy about it. I was pretty small but i have fleeting memories of the TV images.

  16. Does watching Star Wars in the movie theater when it first came out count? I was so little, but was a big family event for us.

    Fun to think back on those times!

  17. Fred, with footage and everything, right in the middle of Captain’s place? How traumatizing!

    ATM, you fought about Louganis hitting his head? Was that just a typical teen thing?

    Louise, you are the first person to tell personal memories, rather than something you saw on tv. Did people throw the shoes because she had declared a state of emergency, or did she declare the state of emergency because she’d been pelted with shoes?

    Our parents definitely kept us in a bubble! I do remember a girl I knew wrote a silly poem opening the water gate and letting all the water out and how mad she was that her shows were pre-empted on tv. Like others, I often “knew” about the event, but had no clue what it was about. People were mimicking sheiks just to be funny, right? (no) I knew gas prices were rising, but had no idea of the anger level many US adults had about it, or the animosity towards Arabs.
    In terms of family memories, I have no memories of where we lived before I was two, and only a few specific memories of the house and neighborhood we lived in until partway through first grade. The adults involved in some of those events have no recollection of them–Mom rolling down the hill with me and letting me ask about her and my dad’s first names and ages one day,, Dad telling me to never, ever gang up with anyone against my sister again, we were family! I think they happened, but have no corroboration.

  18. “Louise, you are the first person to tell personal memories, rather than something you saw on tv.”

    The question is what news event you remember. I have not really been personally involved in many news/world events.

    I do have personal memories that are much earlier, but I know I wasn’t aware of anything happening outside of my own bubble until about ’84, when I was about 8. That seems about right.

  19. “Fred, with footage and everything, right in the middle of Captain’s place? How traumatizing!”

    The Magruder film was not available for a long time, and it may have been years before the frames of him getting his head blown off were released to the public, but in any event, it certainly wasn’t developed and processed and available for the immediate news broadcasts.

  20. ATM, our whole family went to the drive-in to see Star Wars. My mom and older sister got up to see the royal wedding. We were on vacation (I think Dad took us along to a conference), so they had to go to a common area in the Grand Hotel (Mackinac) to watch with others who had rousted themselves for it. I was more interested in the island’s horses and fudge. My mom and little sister watched Luke and Laura, because that was their show. I still had no interest in weddings. What’s most bizarre to me is learning now that Di was less than a decade older than me.

  21. Earliest family memory is moving from one house to another when I was 3.5. I sat on the floor in front of the passenger’s front seat of the car on the drive to the new place!

  22. I remember TV shows more than historical events. Fonzie jumping the shark. Who Shot JR

  23. SM – I don’t remember images, just the news reports. It took longer to get tape / photos. (Instant replay wasn’t really commercially viable until a couple of years later)

  24. Saac – my mom was really freaked out about Greg Louganis hitting his head and the blood getting into the water. We must have known he was gay or HIV positive and AIDS was relatively new and scary. The event made me realize my mom’s views and mine differed greatly and that we fundamentally disagreed about homosexuality and the Catholic church’s teachings. I was about 14 or 15.

  25. My first news encounter was the 1956 Republican convention. We didn’t have a TV, but we were visiting my aunt who did. My treat was Crusader Rabbit in the afternoon – it was pre-empted for convention coverage. However, the first key world news event I recall following in the newspaper was Castro’s overthrow of Batista when I was 8. I asked DH who is 73 what he remembered, and the first news encounter was going to the polls with his dad and Truman’s election in 1948, the first non sporting news event he followed was the Korean War (which his Communist parents explained was started by South Korea and its imperialist allies).

  26. Challenger. I watched it on TV. And Milo – I remember Columbia vividly, down to where I was when I watched it happen.

    I remember Bush Sr.’s election vividly – my school held a mock election and Bush won. I remember voting for him because I liked Millie, their dog.

    The first World Trade Center bombing sticks out. I didn’t understand why anyone would do that.

    We watched the OJ Simpson verdict in school. I started wondering about fame/money and our justice system then. I wondered how much it cost to buy a jury.

    We never had a personal or family event around a major news story. I remember my mom struggling to explain Challenger to me. I also remember her having the same care, sympathy, and empathy when she told me my first pet died.

  27. I remember the Watergate hearing preempting the cartoons that were on in the morning b efore school, and being really irritated about that.

  28. I do recall the ’86 Amazing Mets quite vividly. And I remember watching the NJ Devils on TV when I was a toddler (maybe 3 or 4?) They started in NJ in 1983, but we didn’t have cable until 1984.

  29. “Castro’s overthrow of Batista when I was 8”

    I have relatives who experienced this and Castro’s rise to power firsthand. Their stories are amazing.

  30. Watergate is the first big news story that I remember for two reasons. There wasn’t cable and I used to watch kids shows such as Zoom on PBS. My kid shows were preempted to show the news, and it happened for a long time.

    My father said that I must have overheard nasty comments about Nixon because I came home from school and starting saying the F word. I was 7, and he said I kept walking around and saying “F Nixon”. I guess that was the beginning of a long history of swearing that hasn’t stopped even though I think my grandmother washed out my mouth with soap when she heard me say this in her apartment.

  31. The initial coverage was not entirely unfavorable to Castro – Batista was the sort of dictator US policy always chose to prop up – but quickly it was clear he was a fully throated Soviet style Communist and it changed. After than I was a news junkie and we soon got our first TV.

  32. We just started watching The Americans which brought back some memories. I remember overhearing my parents talk about a Soviet invasion of Poland and they were worried there would be a war. I had nightmares about tanks rolling down our street. I also recall when Reagan was shot. Both of those events were plot points on The Americans.

    I also recall the Air Florida flight that crashed into that bridge in DC and ended up in the Potomac.

  33. I loved Zoom! I had a book of “Zoom-dos”. Their casting calls were the first time I realized where our town was situated in the life of the country. A few years later, I recognized places I’d heard about on the radio (in ads) when we went to Columbus. It was exciting for me.

    Cordella, I’d love to hear what your relatives say about those events, and changes now. But that’s probably too long for the blog.

  34. I have fond memories of waking up early to watch Princess Diana’s wedding with my Mom.

    I also remember watching Star Wars when it first came out. What left a bigger impression on me was my parents taking me to see Saturday Night Fever when it opened – I don’t think they realized beforehand that it perhaps wasn’t the most appropriate movie for an 11 year old. I was pretty surprised they took me to see it.

  35. I remember sitting on the floor at home watching the coverage of the moon landing. I remember Watergate and the push to impeach Nixon. Vietnam was purposefully masked by my parents as the company my dad worked for was thinking of sending him as a civilian worker. They are both dead now, so I don’t know all the details, just that my mom was afraid of how I would react if I know my dad was going some where everyone was dying. He didn’t end up going, again, I don’t know why.

    I recall watching the first space shuttle land live during physics class in high school. For some reason, our teacher never gave a second thought to the thing my crash and we’d all be scarred for life. She said it was a historic even and based on physics, it should all work!

  36. My childhood was divided into the pre color TV and the post color TV era in the home country. The change was astounding. Charles & Diana’s wedding occurred in the pre color TV era, so though all of us were interested all we had were news articles and pictures of the event, no TV coverage

  37. My first TV news memory is the ’84 Tigers World Series. Non-sport news is the Challenger. A couple months later I was on my first airplane ride (headed to Orlando) and sat next to a lady who worked for NASA and I remember asking her questions about it. A year later a Northwest plane crash in Detroit (only 1 survivor). I also remember a local story of a mom and dad driving their car into the river and killing their kids. That story is my first memory of hearing that parents would kill their children on purpose. I was devastated, as were all my friends. We talked a lot about it that summer.

  38. I remember my sisters and I being allowed to stay up late and watch the Nixon/Kennedy debate. I can’t remember my opinion.

  39. I remember the Gulf War. I remember my dad watching it on TV all the time. I think I developed my dislike of CNN then. He would just watch the screen – a desert landscape with smoke and fire from a cannon-like gun every so often. At night, every was in green from the night-vision.

  40. I have vague memories of walking through the living room and my parents telling me to sit down and watch this – it was the moon landing. I don’t remember the landing itself, just wondering why I was being yelled at to watch TV. I have some memories of Watergate, and I remember being confused by POWs. My brother’s Boy Scout banquet had centerpieces devoted to them, and I remember being scared at the answers.

  41. When I was 8, my class had pen pals stationed in the Gulf War. My pen pal visited my class when he came back to the states.

  42. Thinking more, I remember the Berlin Wall coming down. I remember not understanding why people put a wall between themselves in the same country.

    Columbine was scary for me – I remember going to school wondering about my classmates.

  43. “When I was 8, my class had pen pals stationed in the Gulf War. My pen pal visited my class when he came back to the states.”

    That’s so cool. My pen pal never wrote back.

  44. I thought it was so cool, got my picture in the newspaper with him, he was the only one to visit the classroom

    we had all sent them xmas gifts, and he brought me a few gifts to the school, a baseball cap and a t-shirt

  45. I don’t remember any of the events depicted in The Americans. I am just a little too young. I wonder if I will start remembering in the last two seasons as they get into the mid-80’s.

    I remember the Columbia shuttle disaster, of course, but I was an adult, working full time. It’s just different from watching a shuttle explode as a child with your entire school. It was traumatic to see kids & adults crying and trying to calm kids down and control their own feelings. It was a very memorable experience for elementary kids – I’m sure that’s why it is mentioned so many times by late GenXers as a formative news event. I don’t know what it was like for adults who were at work & only saw it on the news later on.

  46. @Rhode – I’m not terribly older than you, but Columbine doesn’t really stick out to me as something that affected me emotionally the same way. Of course, it was tragic, but again, I was already out of school & working FT, so I wasn’t really thinking as a student anymore.

  47. Columbine was sad and scary, I was in high school when it happened. It didn’t seem like something that could happen at my school, but now, it seems this kind of thing could happen anywhere. Makes me worry about DS and the kids at his school when I hear about school shootings

  48. A couple years after the fact, the memory of Columbine convinced me to prohibit a new freshman at my college from going to the rifle and pistol ranges on his group’s scheduled days. To put it gently, he was not adapting well to the whole system, and had numerous uncontrolled emotional outbursts. It just didn’t seem like that great of an idea to hand him a loaded M-16. However, this obvious exclusion didn’t help matters for him, and he ended up leaving a few months later.

  49. Challenger was the first news story I really remember because we were watching it in school – I think I was in 4th grade (but am too lazy to look it up). I remember my mother watching the Gulf War on television (late middle school). I had a neighborhood friend in ES who told me that some other country was building a bomb and the only way we’d be safe was to build an underground bunker and I remember worrying about this a lot but never asking my parents about it.

    Columbine happened at the end of my junior year of college and I remember a friend telling me about it. I think I was more in a news bubble in college than at any other time aside from early childhood (it was right before everyone was really surfing the internet all of the time).

  50. It’s funny how your memories can change. I was fairly certain that the dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred right after the coup, which CNN was trying to cover while also covering Hurricane Bob. But, while the coup was August 19 – 21 (the same time as Hurricane Bob) the final lowering of the Soviet flag over the Kremlin, after the resignation of Gorbachev, wasn’t until December 25th.

  51. I was at the airport for a business trip when Columbine happened. I remember it vividly because it happened in the Denver metro area, and it was my birthday. Not really the greatest birthday on record. I couldn’t finish Sue Klebold’s book. Too hard to take.

  52. I remember the Gulf War because it was televised on CNN. We had color TV by then and for days that’s all that dominated the news. Post color TV era was revolutionary. Prior to then, we just didn’t know what others were watching in the rest of the world. I watched a LOT of MTV. It’s weird because I hardly watch TV now.

  53. Shuttles were still pretty new when Challenger went off. People weren’t watching launches as much as they had in the 70s, but this one and it and the whole first teacher in space contest were a cultural event with fanfare. I didn’t watch it intentionally–was on my way to the dining hall, in the basement of a dorm, and walked past a room where a bunch of people had gathered to watch, glanced at the screen on my way past, and saw it blow up.

    I remember news stories when rockets returned to earth, with the capsule bobbing in the ocean, but of course we did not have (probably still do not have) the ability to film them exactly as they re-entered the atmosphere. The shuttle that blew up on reentry was when ‘saac was tiny. The guy who was in the next office does aerial photos and satellite imagery, and was very involved in the search for pieces. If it weren’t for his involvement, I doubt I’d remember it any more than I recall the occasional airplane that goes off course and vanishes.

  54. I was a college freshman when the Jim Jones Guyana mass slaughter happened. I was taking a sociology class and we ditched the schedule material to talk about religious cults and their history.

  55. Books – I liked The Sellout and I am reading WCE’s recommendation ( I think it was her) of Hillbilly Elegy. Like that as well.

  56. “I think I was more in a news bubble in college than at any other time aside from early childhood (it was right before everyone was really surfing the internet all of the time).”

    I agree with this. I didn’t have a TV of my own the first couple of years. I remember the OK City bombings well because they happened when I was home on Spring Break & sitting around my parents’ house watching TV.

  57. You guys are so young. I was a freshman in college when the Challenger exploded.

    The first news story I remember: In second grade, when my homeroom teacher announced during morning circle-time that the Vietnam War had ended.

    The first sports image I remember: Olga Korbut doing her amazing heels-over-head move on the balance beam at the 1972 Munich Olympics. I was watching on our black-and-white TV, and I was mesmerized:

    http://www.gettyimages.com/pictures/olga-korbut-the-russian-gymnast-doing-a-chest-roll-on-the-news-photo-2628427#olga-korbut-the-russian-gymnast-doing-a-chest-roll-on-the-beam-picture-id2628427

  58. My first memory is the 1960 election of JFK – I also have vague memories of a West Virginia campaign stop by JFK.

    My next large memory was the Sabin vaccine and all the parents talking about it for weeks and the jubilation when we were told when it would be available at our local public school, lining up with all the neighbors and their kids to receive our pink sugar cube,

  59. Saac – to answer your question. The country was in a state of emergency at the time the of the rally. So, the people were very angry, hence shoe throwing. At election time, the people were always reminded that the irrespective of everything, it is the world’s largest democracy with peaceful transfer of power and a free and vociferous press. No military government or dictatorships.

  60. I’d be curious to see how my kids answer this in a few years. I’ve already had to correct them that ISIL was not involved in Sept. 11th so I question what they’re hearing and from where. (And I doubt they really know much about Sept. 11th at all.) Our sitter is a Bernie fan and some members of my family are Trump fans, so we did have a discussion about being polite and respectful of differing views or simply not talking about it at all.

  61. “we did have a discussion about being polite and respectful of differing views or simply not talking about it at all.”

    How I wish adults would understand this. I’m getting sick of “you don’t agree with me, so you’re wrong” and “I know everything and you know nothing.”

  62. Reading the article, it was a little jarring to think that the (presumably) interns answered 9/11. But, that would make sense if you were 5 on 9/11 you’d be rising college junior.

  63. I remember the OJ chase was on all TVs around campus. I was new to the country, I didn’t know who OJ was and why everyone was watching. I recently saw OJ – Made in America – made sense why all the TVs were on.

  64. This year’s crop of college freshman will have little or no personal memory of 9/11. DS, who is in college now and was in preschool then, was with me on that day as we headed to the Pentagon City Costco down the GW Parkway, and pointed out the smoke to me. He then sat silently while I frantically tried my nonfunctional cell phone and pushed the radio buttons trying to figure out what had happened, drove past the airport with luggage-laden people streaming out on foot, and looked for a place to turn around so we could go home. But he isn’t sure what he actually remembers and what he knows from hearing that story.

  65. Milo, count me as another who remembers Columbia. I was driving around doing the weekend errands with at least one small child in the car — probably coming home from Costco — and the radio was going on about what I initially took to be a Challenger retrospective. It slowly dawned on me as I listened that we must have lost another one.

  66. @ATM – I think your kids are about the same age as mine. I wonder the same thing. I think he’ll probably remember this election at least a little bit, but I’m not sure what else. I think he’ll remember the 2015 Stanley Cup, but not the prior ones. I don’t think he’ll remember Laquan McDonald. He does gets snippets of the news, but we don’t watch the news on TV much when he is around, and we don’t get a hard copy of the newspaper.

  67. DH works for a company that was in the WTC on 9/11. He joined later, but they recently moved to new offices. I asked why they were moving, and he said they had a 15 year lease and it’s up. They took one of the first spaces they could find in a plain building in midtown in 2001. I was actually surprised to realize that its been 15 years.

  68. I’m constantly amazed about The Totebag’s demographics. Ignoring household income, which is relatively high, I’m reminded on days like this how few older folks there are here. I believe that Meme, Old Mom and I are in our early to mid 60s, but that really isn’t “old”. (No comments appreciated on THAT setup!) No, point here, really. I’m just surprised we haven’t attracted any septo or octogenarians. Among other things, I would think they have time.

  69. Misplaced comma: “No point here,” it should have been.

    I must be getting older!

  70. I grew up in DC and definitely remember the Air Florida crash, and Lenny Skutnik (the bystander who jumped in the freezing water to save a woman who couldn’t hand onto her life preserver.) Was a senior in HS when the Challenger exploded, and remember watching the whole thing during class. Don’t really remember Olga Korbut, but I totally wanted to be Nadia in 1976. I have vague recollections of the bicentennial celebration on the National Mall. I also remember the 1980 election – my school held a mock election and every homeroom but one voted for Reagan – a landslide, just like the country overall.

    My brother was born in 1973, and my mom watched the Watergate hearings in her shared hospital room. You had to pay extra for the TV back then, and my mom wouldn’t have paid; her roommate did pay because she HAD to watch her soaps, but they kept getting pre-empted for the hearings (which my mom wanted to watch anyway!).

  71. PTM – The Other Site was specifically targeted to dual-income parents of young children, often with a lot of the hot-button childrearing issues for the 5-and-under crowd. I don’t think this spin-off brings in anybody new, so it’s just the same folks. And the kids are getting a lot older, too.

  72. Several folks have mentioned the Watergate hearing pre-emption. During that summer, a local TV station had been advertising the exciting re-airing of “The Brady Bunch,” which we kids were anxiously anticipating. We were SO very disappointed that the Watergate hearings were on every channel, and all day long, or so it seemed. My mom was riveted, and kept telling us that we were seeing history before our eyes, but as a kid it was hard to be interested. The summer was our only chance at least to try to watch lots of TV (sometimes roaming from house to house in search of an inattentive mom), and we were stuck with a lot of grownups talking about incomprehensible stuff.

    Though it was the first time I had heard the word “subpoena.” Repeatedly, as it turned out.

  73. TOS was for working parents. Assuming retirement at 60-something, they wouldn’t have made it to their 70s and 80s yet. I see some people who have joined the Totebag in the last few years, but not *that* many

  74. Another cultural thing just lit up in my head… Kurt Cobain’s death. I remember my parents commenting how “today’s” generation were responding in the same fashion as those who witnessed the Big Bopper’s death, Elvis’s death, and John Lennon’s death.

    I never mourned (I don’t think I’ve mourned any celebrity’s death), but I remember my friends wearing black (which was nothing new, so how could we distinguish their mourning clothes from Thursday’s outfit), and crying non-stop.

  75. “but I remember my friends wearing black (which was nothing new, so how could we distinguish their mourning clothes from Thursday’s outfit), and crying non-stop.”

    Gah! I meant that my friends were stating they were wearing black to mourn…

  76. @Scarlett – That’s how the Iran Contra hearings were for me. Ruined a summer of planned junky TV watching.

    I was on TOS when I was very single, and then not single, engaged, married pre-kids, etc. I guess it’s been a long time.

  77. I think I’m coming up on 10(!) years hanging out with you. I distinctly remember being on TOS in 2007 at a consulting gig before I landed with this employer.

  78. I’ve been hanging out with you guys for about 10 years (we were DINKs back then)
    I lurked TOS and only posted probably twice

  79. I also think what you remember has a lot to do with what your parents did as far as TV or interest in. My dad had was working at NASA in the late 60s, so our household was much more aware than some others. My mom hated tv on during the day, but would turn it on for the news and then into prime time. Due to the Vietnam issue I mentioned up thread, during the war they would often only watch the news at 10, after I had gone to bed.

    There are a lot of things that don’t jump to mind, but the more I think about it the more “newsy” things come to mind. I was a Senior in HS when Reagan was first elected, so that election was a big focus in our government class. After taking office he nominated Sandra Day OConnor to the Supreme Court, and there was the air traffic controllers strike (made me have to cancel a weekend trip just before college started).

  80. there was the air traffic controllers strike

    Yeah, a good friend of my parents’ went back to work shortly before he fired everyone who was still out — I think maybe there’d been a final ultimatum? — so that was pretty memorable. He had co-workers who were fired, and for the fired controllers, as I recall, it wasn’t like losing one job and then having to look for another — they just couldn’t ever work as air traffic controllers again. There was a lot of bitterness both between those who returned to work before the firing and those who didn’t, and from all of them toward the administration, and probably toward the union leadership too.

  81. I remember the Challenger and its being during school – I was in 2nd grade IIRC. Other than that, I remember Doug Flutie and the Celtics in 1984 on our 13″ TV.

    The first big news story I remember being more concerned about was the first Gulf War – I was in 7th grade. I also remember the CNN footage of the desert with flashes and my grandpa being really interested in it.

    Personally, I saw the 2nd plane’s explosion as it hit the WTC on 9/11. We left the city for a week or so bc the fumes were was so terrible.

  82. Sorry about the ambiguous references — I hope you can tell which “he” referred to Reagan and which referred to my parents’ friend.

  83. I may have started TOS in ’06. I found it right away because I was a lurker on similar blogs from the Wash Post and NYT, and there was a link to TOS. I never commented on those sites because the posters were nasty.

    I remember when the WSJ used to publish some our comments in the print edition. I still read the WSJ, and Sara is still a reporter for the paper. I am surprised because a lot of their staff turned over after the paper was sold by the family.

  84. I started in 2007 after being linked to TOS from the Time’s “Work in Progress”. The woman running that blog left the Times to be a SAHM/freelance writer. She included links to TOS and others blog. The TOS was the least hostile.

  85. I don’t remember how I found TOS, but I do remember that it was around the time my daughter was born in 2007. Is Sara back from London? I wonder if she ever drops in here.

  86. when I had my job prior to this one, I had a print subscription and used to read it in there I think, then starting reading online and reading the comments

  87. DS and I were just talking about this–he said he had no memory of 9/11, and I explained how hard we had worked to shelter him from it.
    My first big story I remember is the MLK assassination. We visited Memphis a few years ago, and it was surreal to visit the museum and the Lorraine Motel.

  88. Oh 2006. I thought it was earlier because I thought that I remembered reading it at a job that I left in 2006. I guess not. I was married then, but no kids. I really didn’t post much, if ever, on the WSJ site.

  89. Rhett, how do you like The Americans? You are probably too young to recognize that FBI Agent Gaad was John-Boy Walton.

  90. Scarlett,

    It’s good. Much like the Goldbergs, it’s good 80’s nostalgia. The only negative so far is the uneven pacing and the grey SAAB that’s in almost all the shots. It’s a post 1987 SAAB 900 but it’s supposed to be 1982.

  91. Rhett, that comment reminds me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask you. Would you please email me at hotmail?

  92. I don’t have as definitive a start date as some of you do. Articles from TOS came up occasionally, probably starting sometime 2006-2008 and I sometimes commented on them, without really noticing where they were from or who else was commenting. Eventually though, someone recognized me and tied a comment to something I’d said earlier. That kind of spooked me, but I read and paid attention for a while, and began commenting more frequently. I recall a lot of loyalty and concern when the original editor left. I had never really noticed or felt connected to her either.

  93. Rhett, how far into the series have you gotten? I will confess that I never noticed much about the cars except to wonder how they managed to shoot so many scenes on streets and in parking lots with 80’s cars. I was in college then but the clothes Paige wears look very familiar. And she had a Trapper Keeper notebook! Impressive attention to detail on that one. I’m thinking that props, costume, hair and set design would be fun jobs on that show.

  94. Rhett, I’d really rather not talk about it on here, but I’d really like your comments.

  95. My first news memory is of Reagan being shot, followed by Charles & Diana’s wedding.

    When William married Kate I had my daughter watch, because she was the same age then as I had been when I watched his parents marry and I thought there was a chance she might remember it too. But she doesn’t.

    I find it’s tough to explain a lot of things to DD in a way that is both simple enough for her to understand, but not too simple. “But why did the men want to kill people on 9/11?”

  96. Scarlett – I also remember the Watergate hearings as a major inconvenience because we couldn’t watch the various cartoons and Big Valley reruns that made up a big chunk of our summer TV viewing during the daytime. I think I had started watching All My Children by then, and the hearings switched from NBC to ABC to CBS each day – is that correct?

  97. I came to the TOS from The Motherlode in the NYTimes. I really needed to connect with women who were juggling because I lost the community I had in my former city and found that my new neighborhood had mostly SAHMs. It has been eight years now, still juggling but have found balance or made my peace with things that I can’t change.

  98. ssk,
    I don’t recall the specifics of the coverage, other than it seemed that it had taken over every one of our 3 or 4 channels.

  99. 9/11 – the training camps in Aghanistan were a huge deal for neighboring countries and I recall a lot press in the home country saying that terror was being exported from there and those camps should be destroyed. After the Soviet defeat that area of the world was just not the radar.

  100. Sky, I remember those days–such a challenge to clarify my thinking to its simplest elements without losing the overall flavor! For the last couple years now, our conversations have been very different. He may need me to fill in a bit of information, but he also knows things I don’t, and his analysis is often very good. This fall, he’s looking forward to his early childhood education elective, because part of it will be helping out with a preschool. He talks about it all the time, between googling pictures of human and animal babies, and is already thinking about how to explain things to little ones. Totally cliche, but I can’t believe how fast it’s gone!

  101. Louise, I was interested to read some Facebook comments today from Pakistanis who see the US support for the Taliban in the 80s and US military actions there now as all of one cloth, the US bringing military aggression into the region.

  102. I came over from the law blog on wsj. I stayed because we were beginning to try for a kid then.

  103. My earliest memory is watching the JFK funeral on TV. I was 3 so I’m not sure I really remember it or have just created that memory. I do remember the MLK assassination because some relatives left DC to seek safety at our house. I was in middle school when the Israeli athletes were slaughtered during the 1972 Olympics. I remember very clearly the shattering of the belief that there were safe havens in the world.

  104. I’m outside filling my garbage can with hose water and Clorox, because whatever garbage we had in there over last week liquefied and putrefied in the heat, and the can was infested with maggots.

    Made me think of meme. :) ‘Cause of the garbage storage issue.

  105. HFN,
    I had forgotten about Munich, but that was very scary for just the reason you mentioned. Also Kent State, which was not far from us, and the murder of UMW leader Jock Yablonski “and his wife and daughter,” in 1969.

  106. Saac – it was the war or proxy war against the Soviets. The Soviet Union in those years was seeking allies and the home country had a socialist tilt. Policy dictated by the same Prime Minister who faced shoe throwing. I recall a Soviet Book Fair at my school. We were very excited to have ANY books but they were so uninteresting. The kids would have preferred Disney any day but the government had blocked foreign investment. Once the Soviets were defeated in Aghanistan the super powers withdrew but what had always been a very volatile area became worse.

  107. Rhett, You’ve commented on learning to recognize and respond to signals that come naturally to non-Aspi people. Can you tell me more about those processes? If you didn’t “see” those things at first, how have you decoded which things are signals and what meanings they have? Is there anything in particular that helps you remember to be on the lookout for them?

  108. I’m too young to remember the Challenger disaster. The first event I can really remember is Desert Storm.

    I found TOS approximately 10 years ago, or 11? It was interesting to me even though I had no kids at the time because I expected I would have them eventually. I read routinely there, but only commented a handful of times. I read less routinely now that we’re doing the kid juggle, but still appreciate the insight when I am able!

  109. Milo – we went on vacation and there was already some trash in the house. I left the trash food in the fridge and the AC was on in the house…now I’m glad we had no bins to put it in! ;)

  110. Is there anything in particular that helps you remember to be on the lookout for them?

    For me, the biggest thing is listening. People love to talk, they especially love it when there is someone there to listen. For example, I used to do this thing where if someone was talking and I figured out what they were trying to say, I’d complete their thought before they finished talking so we could move the conversation along faster. Surprisingly, people don’t like that. That being the case, it’s far better to let them make their point in their own time.

  111. Re: to TOS, they also used to have a blog called the Wealth Report, written by Robert Frank, and he would post about anything he could find relating to wealthy people (usually very wealthy people). It never had the same devotion of followers as ours, but there was one guy called TiredOfFlippingTheBill who always preached the same thing about how some people, like he, were naturally going to be rich, including one of his sons, and some were never, including another son.

    Anyway, that blog was dissolved, but I’ve noticed that Robert Frank has a couple of shows on CNBC called Secret Lives of the Super Rich and Super Cars of the Super Rich. Compared to the blog, it’s never about investments but more about toys, mansions, boats, planes, and jewelry. My eldest likes watching it. I find some of the things interesting, like the boats and cars.

  112. Scarlett – Both of my older two assume they’re going to be rich, but the younger (middle) one is more strident about it. I don’t know if that’s just a function of still being at an age where absolutely anything seems possible (like President). But rich is still mostly defined by having things like mansions and yachts.

  113. Rhett, what about nonverbal stuff? Was it ever difficult for you to pick up on what gestures, tones of voice, or body language meant, and if so, how did you improve it? Seems to me there is a trick in the middle where one somehow becomes aware of something they’ve never noticed before and figures out what it means. Before that you’re oblivious and inadvertently pissing people off, afterwards you see and understand and respond.

  114. Rhett, what about nonverbal stuff?

    I think you need to care enough to notice. It’s sort of like me and names. Some people can meet someone and remember their name for . I really need to make an effort, “Hi Ted…it’s nice to meet you Ted.” But, if I’m not paying attention, I’ll forget their name before I’ve remembered that I should make an effort. It’s the same with non verbal queues, if you slow down, listen more and observe, you can start to pick it up.

    I sort of learned it on my own but I know they have more advanced training methods today that might speed up the learning process.

  115. Other methods? Like what?
    The assumption that one can figure it out alone, with enough care, is common. For someone who can’t, that assumption can be really hurtful. Names are one thing; everyone has one, so you know they exist. The nonverbal stuff is not so consistently present.

  116. Milo, I was referring to the article WCE started with, that discusses Isaac Newton, but I agree with you about that quiz too.

  117. longtime lurker of 64 years old. i’m sure there are more than a few. meme represents for me when the subject calls for it. as noted, a lot of the daily subjects have passed me by as my children are fully independent.

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