Where Were You?

When John F. Kennedy was shot?

I was in 4th grade at Lincoln School in Sault Ste. Siberia. Mrs. Scott had left the room. I can’t believe that teachers used to leave classrooms full of grade school kids alone even for a minute. Can they do that now? Anyway, when she came back in, she was staggering a bit and her voice broke as she said, “the president has been shot!” CRASH!!! Patty McKerchie tipped her chair over backwards and landed on the floor. That wasn’t an unusual event but this provided a better excuse than usual.

I was sick! I don’t mean that the president’s assassination made me sick. I mean that I had been sitting there all day quietly incubating a loverly little bacterial infection in my throat. I think we were sent home early and I had plans to play at a friend’s house after school that day. I can’t remember her name but I wasn’t really all that excited about it. She wasn’t Laurie Pingatore, my main partner in hooliganism, just some other kid that wanted to play with me for god knows what reason. Why I didn’t say I was sick and just go home, I do not know.

*Finally*, that long afternoon ended. I dragged myself home and admitted to The Commander that I didn’t feel well. I spent the next few days in and around bed, becoming highly irritated as I recovered because we got a couple of days off school and there was a wonderful “early” snowstorm and everybody else was out sledding and I was stuck inside. Sick. And there was nothing on TV except JFK’s funeral. Come to think of it, there was never anything much on TV anyway, with the two channels we had up in the yoop back in those days.

Yes, I do know what today is. I just don’t have much to say about it. It isn’t that I don’t care or that I’m disrespectful, just that there are plenty of others to do the talking. What could I possibly add? I do remember where I was five years ago and it was even mildly interesting, given that I was oblivious to the events of the day until hours after they happened. But my brain ricocheted back to an earlier memory of another unforgettable day.

Where were you? What do you remember? About either of those days.

6 Responses to “Where Were You?”

  1. Jane Says:

    First – a very inappropriate laugh out loud from me when I read that “Patty McKerchie tipped her chair over backwards and landed on the floor”. that just made me laugh!

    As for JFK – I was too young to understand much, but I do remember that ‘something’ was wrong.

    As for 9/11 – I was at work and heard that a plane hit the WTC. A co-worker had a sister who worked for the FAA and had called with that info. Of course I thought it was just some small plane (although thinking back it should have been a clue that I couldn’t get a webpage to completely load – they seem to have maxed out VERY quickly.) Anyway I called the Regional Director for the NYC area since she was in NYC at a different store – told her a plane hit the WTC and she shoudl probably call down to the Borders store there just to make sure everything was ok. Then shortly after that it became clear that it was not ok and spent some energy trying to pull employee info – who worked at that store so we could start trying to locate everyone.

    In the end all of our employees were safe, and in fact some humorous stories came out of it – the manager telling customers they had to leave, but they still wanted to buy their books. Finally in a very stern voice (as crap is falling from the sky) he told them to “just take it and get out! NOW!!”

  2. kayak woman Says:

    Yeah, that morning, I had the radio off and although I was certainly on the Internet, I was on email and the YAG site, I don’t usually surf news sites. I went over to Kroger, *heard* some people talking about an incident with a small plane, and came home. Oblivious the entire time. It wasn’t until the GG came home at about 11-something that I knew. I was looking out the window going “what is my car doing home at this hour? Did he get fired or something?” 🙂

    I think about the only way to get people out of checkout lines is to totally piss them off somehow: incompetence usually. We used to have a terrible time getting them out of Tempo at closing time when I was a kid and worked there. I can totally believe that Border’s sky is falling story!

  3. Webmomster Says:

    Yeah, pretty amazing, isn’t it. I think MORE people are going to recall “where they were, what they were doing” for WTC than JFK simply due to technology and SHEER REPETITION – and analysis ad nauseum!!!

    JFK? I was, what, 4-something? I don’t recall a thing. Nil. Nada. Nyet. Seriously, my young childhood for some reason is a big EMPTY. Going forward, I cannot reliably put dates on a single thing (except a few birthdays and anniversaries 🙂

    9/11? Oh, yeah. Just don’t ask me for the year. I am poor at date reference. I was working for Menlo Logistics. Located in the bowels of Delphi Flint East Plant Something-or-Other, in some dingy/filthy office filled with mismatched cast-off furniture with the hourly “break room” just outside the door. Given it was a break room for the hourly (read “UAW”) folks, there was a TV in “constant-on” mode. Anyway, it was a Tuesday (I know that, as I was stuck on the Tuesday morning weekly conference call with Data2Logistics regarding freight/carrier payment issues), and one of my colleagues came in stating that he’d just seen on that TV an announcement that a “small plane had just hit the WTC”. Several minutes later, someone else on the conference call mentioned he’d just heard the same thing. We continued with our call, having no other news to go on. After the call was over, I left the office to go out to the restroom, returning to see folks clustered around the TV as more information was coming in and I guess the 2nd plane had just hit.

    Needless to say, there was very little else that really got accomplished beyond what was truly absolutely necessary that day…

  4. Kate Says:

    I was 7 years old and home with the mumps (pre-vaccine). I remember how upsetting it was to everyone around and also that all that was on TV was funeral stuff.

    On 9/11, I first heard the news that the WTC had been hit while I was at Ann Arbor Commerce Bank doing some business. At that point, they thought it was a small plane. When I got back to work in the 777 Building (I work at Medstat), we began to get more news – although the internet was soon swamped. I think someone fired up a radio and we all listened and cried and gasped. Most of us went home early to be there when our kids got home. I seem to think that there was a lot of traffic. I also wanted to be sure that my family in NY were all okay. They were.

    I so remember how quiet the skies were after that with no planes flying. I was in a meeting the next day and we heard fighter jets fly by and freaked out. Apparently they were getting a small plane to land. How that plane got off the ground, I don’t know. I remember how the sky was free of jet trails too. It also turned out that one of my co-workers had a brother on the flight from Boston that hit one of the towers.

  5. joanny Says:


    I don’t really remember Kennedy being shot. I know that my nick-name bestowed upon me by my siblings was “Snyper-in-the-diaper”… go figure…..

    I was at Houghton Lake when man landed on the moon in 69, and they called me in out of the water to watch it, and I was upset. I didn’t care. I was cold, sitting on a little white metal childs folding chair, wet with sand in my suit and I just wanted to go swimming. It was a 13 inch black and white in the corner of the lake room.

    When 9-11 hit, my son Doug and I were on our way back from the Little Professor Book Store, and we were wondering why the radio wasn’t playing music, but news…? We listened, and the traffic just moved slow. We live by Selfrige AFB. It was a long time before we saw any planes, except for the air base, securing the border. I was working at a group home right on lake Ste.Claire, and remember that it was a long time before we saw any plane trails, and then, one day, they started flying again. Don called from Florida…..

    My son Don was in the Air Force based at McDill AFB in Tampa. His new pregnant wife was upset when he got a call from the base saying “be here in 10 minutes.” He remembers arriving at the base, with new concrete barriers already in place, with high security…. with men on rooftops with guns all over the base. His position was the at fire department on the flight line just off the tarmack. All flights must clear the fire dept. before take off and arrivals. He called to say some things, and was ordered to be off the phone. They had ordered planes, loaded with ammunition, to Pennsylvania because a plane still refused to land after several warnings, and orders were made to “take it down”….. ( By this time I was at my doctors appointment, watching this on the news.) One came back without it’s missles. About 10 minutes later, we heard on TV that the plane had “gone down” in Pennsylvania. They “say” that they went down fighting their attackers. Bull. Now they have a movie out about it…. drama. The government doesn’t want us to know that we shot it down. ( can you imagine the explainations and lawsuits flying? ) It was heading for the White House. Think… if you were the President, what would you do???? ” Uh, Mr.Pres., they took out our towers, and Pentigon, and now they are aimed at the White House, and refuse to land… whaddaya want us to do…?”

    When I went to visit them in Florida later, getting your mail out of the mailbox was called and “Anthrax Check”, because they were military……

    Now, my son is at another fire department… in Iraq………..

    I have friends in the military, who firmly believe that the Pentagon was hit by missles, not a plane. The plane is Pennsylvania was shot down by us, as wittnesses also saw it smoke and blow up before it hit the ground. All kinds of talk about the Towers, and not much was said about the Pentagon or Penn., they avoided that. Your government will tell you what they want you to know. People who were on duty, tell me different. They stationed government personelle to be at CNN News to interrupt and run interference whenever the subject got too sticky, and they didn’t want certain things to leak out into the media.

    Years later, on 9-11 in 2004, I was working at the Ashland Oil Refinery ( Marathon ) , deep in the crude unit…. they had security planes flying over the crude unit all day…. we looked up, and kept wondering if they were “friendly” or not. If that place gets hit, it blows up for 3 miles wide. After a few days, they stopped flying so low over us.

    Years later, my child is still in Iraq. He has been overseas since his daughter was 3 months old. She’s in Kindergarten now. I have given my son, and she has given her father… all because of 9-11……………………

  6. kayak woman Says:

    I agree that most people probably remember the WTC stuff more than JFK’s assassination. But I also gotta say that I think I am on the older end of those who read this thing. Jane and Joanny are around the same age and I was 8 when Jane was born. Cute? Yeah! 🙂

    I remember when that fighter jet cruised town during the no-fly period. I was sitting at my strawberry iMac and I’m sure I had that deer-in-the-headlights look about me.

    Landing on the moon? I dunno, maybe that rates a whole other blahg entry. That *was* another day to remember.