Where Were You?

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to reveal all…about herself.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

It’s been quite a summer full of earth, wind and fire: earthquake in Mexico, hurricanes Harvey and Irma beating up Houston and Florida, and fires on the West Coast. We will all remember the summer of 2017.

Before extensive TV coverage, 24-hour news shows, computers and iPads, information took longer for us to hear about. How important it was to you also depends on how old you were and what you were doing at the time. Those events are etched in the mind. With that said, I’m going to go through some memorable events of my life.

FEB. 20, 1962—John Glenn orbits the earth

We were a military family and I was 11 years old. My mother woke my sister and I up at some ungodly hour and sat us down in front of the TV. It was a black and white set and the picture was grainy. They also had maps showing where the space capsule was. “This is history!” my mother exclaimed. I didn’t really care, I just wanted to go back to bed. At school, they had us make space capsules out of clay.

OCT. 16-28, 1962–The Cuban Missile Crisis

This probably didn’t affect many of you as much as my family. Like I said, we were military and living on base. Our fathers were sent home from work to brief the family. We were told we were Russia’s #3 target because we had the carrier planes and lots of bombs. The small town of Lemoore never knew they might have been blown to smithereens. I think most still don’t know how close it came.

NOV. 22, 1963—Assassination of JFK

We were lined up to go inside 8th grade history class when our teacher, Mr. Hamill, walked up. It was obvious he’d been crying. We went in quietly and took our seats. He turned on the TV and that was when we heard that Kennedy has been assassinated. We were sent home from school. All the adults were crying.

JULY 20, 1969—Neil Armstrong walks on the moon

I’m very embarrassed about this one, but understand I was 18, just graduated, and spending a week down in Coronado, CA. with my friend Cory. We were going to Midshipmen Balls and wearing bikinis everywhere. We raced to her house to change clothes and her dad called up the stairs “A man has walked on the moon.” We stopped for a second then continued to do what was important to us. Clueless.

AUG. 9, 1974—Nixon abdicates

I was in the Navy and stationed in Puerto Rico. There were no newspapers, radio in English and only one station on base TV which aired “Topper” reruns. We got most of our news from new people shipping in. When we were told we had a new president, it took us by surprise. I mean, this was our Commander in Chief and NOBODY BOTHERED TO MENTION IT?

DEC. 8, 1980—John Lennon assassinated

I was a Ma Bell operator in Fresno working at one of the last old-fashion cordboards. A customer came on and said “Operator, somebody just shot John Lennon.” It seemed unbelievable. I whispered it to the woman next to me and she passed it down the board.

AUG. 31, 1997—The death of Princess Di

I was asleep and the phone rang. It was my ex-husband. Knowing I was an anglophile, he’s the one who broke the news. I’m glad it was him.

SEPT. 11, 2001—The Twin Towers fall

I was ironing a shirt for work and watching the morning news. They had footage of the first tower being hit. Was it an accident? Then the next plane hit tower 2 and I think the whole nation realized this was intentional. I called my father, a widower and recluse, and said “Daddy, turn on the TV.” He did and saw the devastation. “Why did you have to wake me for this?” he grumbled. How do you explain this is my generation’s Pearl Harbor?

AUG. 20, 2005—New Orleans under water

I was on a Caribbean cruise when all the passengers were called together. An officer said, “New Orleans no longer exists.” Say what? How does a city disappear? He told us Hurricane Katrina had dumped so much water on the city and the levees broke. People from there or had family there demanded to be put ashore, but that was impossible.

JUNE 25, 2009—The death of Michael Jackson

I was on a plane coming home from a mystery conference (Killer Nashville?), ignoring my seatmate. I’d fallen asleep when he nudged me and pointed to the TV. We both sat there, thousands of miles above the earth, in disbelief.

So, what memory do you have and why is when and where you heard it etched in your mind?

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7 thoughts on “Where Were You?

  1. I was too young for the first three, but I absolutely remember man walking on the moon. What struck me most was that even Walter Cronkite was speechless. That was unheard of.

    I was a big fan of Princess Diana, and I remember coming home, and my mom saying you need to see this.

    For 9/11, I had been working a temporary position for only a week or two and didn’t yet know the other employees. Quite the traumatic experience to share to bring us together. Someone called us to the tv just in time to see the second plane crash. My family was also military, and I used to live in DC, so the Pentagon crash was even more disturbing to me, wondering if my friends at and around the Pentagon were safe.

    While I remember John Lennon being shot when I was in college, Michael Jackson’s death was more to me because his music was a much bigger influence on my life plus we’re the same age.

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  2. These are stunning and memorable events that encapsulate my past and are etched forever in my mind. I believe we are the same age, Sunny.
    John Glenn circling the earth. I watched this on television in a classroom in New Jersey. In those days, my home was considered to be out in the country ( now it’s a cosmopolitan area and unrecognizable. This was momentous, too. My parents strongly believed that it was necessary to constantly be informed. After school, my father walked in with his two Philadelphia newspapers ( he always bought them from vendors at a red light en route to Old City, Philadelphia, for work.

    The Cuban Missile Crisis was watched and intensely discussed at home. My parents worshipped JFK and I knew this was extremely important . We also discussed this in my history class: I was in junior high school ( the term used back then for middle school.

    I was in the eighth grade when the President was assassinated. It was eighth period an the principal came on the inter speaker to make the dire announcement. I was in homeroom and it was the end of the school day. I took the bus home to discover my mother n hysterics. The mailman had been running up and down the street informing those along his route of this tragedy. For four days, my parents cried and would not light electricity. We went television, non stop and saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. I needed to get away, and I begged my parents to let me stay at a friend’s house. I was only allowed to go because I told them we were going to Mass in the morning.

    John Glenn’s orbit around the earth coincided with Woodstock, so that made a double impression on someone embracing The Age of Aquarius. It was a summer of events for me in a personal way.

    Nixon abdicating was less momentous because I was very confused with the details of Watergate.

    John Lennon’s assassination occurred when I was getting close to Sunny’s delivery date. My son was still a baby, and I recall sitting on the floor in my bedroom; my husband was at work, and I rocked my son Joey and cried.

    When Princess Diana passed away, I was dating a man from New Orleans who wanted to marry me. We were surrounded by his family and I know I was in shock. I had watched her marriage to Prince Charles and thought she was a wonderful person.

    9/11—the most momentous moment of all. I live in NJ and not far from Manhattan, DC, and Shanksville, PA. as the crow flies. Although I taught at a university, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I taught at a community college very near Fort Dix and McGuire AFB ( so close that when planes took off or landed the ground shook and I saw Air Force ONE many times over head and waved at the pilot). I was en route to teach an early morning class, and heard about the first tower as I pulled into the parking lot, by the time I reached the student center, six huge television screens showed Tower 2. I flew up to my class, grabbed my students and heard the Dean screaming. We watched in real time with the entire school for hours. I had many military students trying to reach their spouses and although the President had called all planes in, a lone fighter encircled the area for weeks and weeks. My biggest fear was getting my son to leave his job in Philadelphia before they shut down the bridges to New Jersey. I cried for a month. Many of my university students were from North Jersey and headed up to NYC to work with the Triage. My area took the attack very personally.

    I was heading back to teach when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the images were terribly disturbing.

    I had just moved into my apartment after losing my mother and husband and many friends, when I heard about Michael Jackson, and I was extremely upset. Too young and a one of the best entertainers of our times. I also grieved.

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  3. Being about the same age, I remember those events, and they still resonate with me, especially the Cuban Missile Crisis. I went to school that day not knowing if I would ever return. It was a harrowing experience.

    Another memory that has stayed with me was the tragic fire on December 1, 1958, at Our Lady Queen of the Angels School in Chicago. Started by a disgruntled janitor, it killed whole classrooms of children and a number of teachers. After that event, nearly every Catholic school in the country was updated to include fire escapes, etc. You just don’t forget events like that.

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  4. I’m old enough to remember the end of WW2, everyone running around waving flags and cheering. Cuban missile crisis, I was in a helicopter unit at Fort Meade, Md. We found out later we were on orders to deploy–fortunately, the orders never came. I was sleeping off a turn of guard duty near the DMZ in Korea when JFK was killed; my roommate woke me to give me the news. The walk on the moon was a disappointment to me. It proved there was nothing there but rocks. I hoped for a new species of some kind. My sister was on her way back to Maryland after a visit home and called us with news of 9/11.

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  5. I share so many of your memories; they are imbedded in our minds.
    I was in 6th grade when President Kennedy was assasinated. Miss Flossie Griffin, our teacher, made the announcement; it was difficult to understand through her tears. School was dismissed, and didn’t resume for several days (as I recall.) When I got home , my Mom and Dad were holding each other in tears. We were a Catholic Democratic family. My Dad was in Politics and when John Kennedy was a candidate he stopped at our home.
    The days that followed were surreal to me; it seemed like my family and others were just going through the motions of the day, glued to the TV and praying.
    I will never forget September11, 2011. Along with so many I just never imagined such horrific actions happening in the United States of America. I wonder was that confidence, ignorance, or arrogance to think we were immune from such terror.
    I am fearful of the dates we and the children of today will remember one day. The world is a frightening place right now; from day to day one never knows what will happen.
    I believe in prayer and social justice action, the strength and courage of our Military and that rational people will be at the helm. Peace.

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  6. Hello Sunny,

    You covered many high and low points in history and brought us back to those powerful moments. We all reminisce about those times, the slower pace, less media, less complexity, and we probably all would like to be there for a short or even long time again. But it’s good to remember that each time period has its shocks and dangers. It’s human nature. Life is always changing but human nature doesn’t change fast enough to keep up with tech changes. But it’s interesting how big events like the ones you mention lock us in time.
    I remember I was in art class when John Lennon died and I remember when the first astronaut was about to walk on the moon — and our TV shut off for a few seconds and everyone got agitated until my dad put it back on. That generation dealt with the many crises and I wonder if we can do that now…

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  7. As always on time, thank you Sunny for reminded us of the will to survive. We have witnessed many disasters in the world, yet to do more. I pray we will learn from these catastrophes and bridge the world.
    (My first comment was lost…of course I did not copy and paste…age!)

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