Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Not Saturday. I've been confused all week!

25 yrs ago today, I can tell you exactly where I was. I think the day was a Monday and since the ski slope was closed on Mondays, I was working my "one day a week" job. If not for the closed schedule of that ski area, I would have been sailing down a run instead of sitting at a desk in Casper, Wyoming  with a typewriter beneath my fingers. was pre computer days and we thought using an IBM Selectric was the sign of having reached the highest pinnacle of technology. I loved the sound of the keys striking that roller. I like the solid feel of the keyboard. I didn't like the effort needed to make corrections. Word processing changed my life.
The boss's office was to my right and he was "out" for the day. The large TV was tuned to a news station and as I worked, one ear stayed tuned to what was being said on the network.
The shuttle was being launched. The Challenger was on countdown and I paused to turn to look at the television. A direct line, exhaust streaming from the lower part, the shuttle was powering it's way out of the atmosphere. I watched as that straight line was interrupted, it pitched to one side and disappeared in a ball of flame.
Stunned, I sat in silence. The same silence had engulfed the launch pad's control room. Everyone in the office silently gathered in front of that television and I still remember how quiet we were. There wasn't any chatter or questions. We waited in silence though we knew there was no hope of survivors. In the days that followed, we heard about the lives of the astronauts that were on board. The investigation of the accident was in progress. Films were being studied and later when the faulty "o" ring was blamed, we digested this information. This small part that was a mere pennies in cost had caused the loss of the lives of the crew and the billions of dollars invested in this mission. At least it was quick.
The next shuttle explosion, we were spending the night in Dallas, Texas. February 1, 2003.  We packed out clothes back into our suitcases and walked out of the Holiday Inn to the truck. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the news came of the  Columbia shuttle  exploding on reentry. The radio was warning of parts of that shuttle coming to ground in the Dallas area. As we rolled down the interstate, I couldn't help but watch the sky for parts of the broken shuttle. Days later, parts of the shuttle were recovered around Dallas, TX., Tyler, TX. and Louisiana. We were driving directly into the paths of the debris field. My imagination was in overdrive. I imagined a big hot chunk of metal spearing the cab of the truck impaling us to our seats. The cruise control would keep the  speed constant until the truck missed a curve and like two dolls secured by huge stick pins, we would be found among the wreckage of the Columbia parts,another casualty that would be overshadowed by the broadcasts of the lost lives of the astronauts.

I stayed nervous the remainder of that trip.

I'm outta here to get a shower and dressed. The temperatures are promised to be 68 degrees. I plan to spend some time outside. I have a reclining chair that will make the perfect place to observe all the yard work the hubby plans on doing today.
I'm done!


  1. A lot of people say they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when terrible things happened. I can't! I must need to repress those times in my life. I remember them happening and remember the feelings and how I cried non-stop though. I think I feel too deeply about things and my mind shuts down when it needs to. It was a terrible thing. BTW, I had a Selectric in high school...the only one in the school and I thought it was amazing too.

  2. JFK assissination; school gym watching a circus
    RFK: with my mom in Evans, WV at a friends' house
    9/11: first plane hit towers/in office online w/friend.
    second plane: living room in front of TV watching reports of first strike.
    It feels as though life moves into slow motion for me when these castrophies happen.
    Maybe you are ludky Joan, to have built in cushion.

  3. I remember that day 25 years ago also. I had recently moved to Colorado and had just started a new job....I remember someone coming in to tell me what had happened and then gathering around a tv much as you described, stunned into silence.

  4. Thanks for stopping by's always nice to see someone new!

  5. I was in the High School gym that day too even though I wasn't in High School yet, I can't remember where I was for RFK but I was in Gallipolis Oh. at the John Deere Dealer when I heard about 911, but had no Idea of the massive amout of destruction till I got home and began watching. How very sad for our country and the world.


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