It’s high time we all started remembering again! For the first Remember the Time installment of 2014, write a post about the time you received a piece of news that impacted the entire world or just your world. Maybe you’ll want to talk about hearing the news of the Kennedy assassination or 9/11. Your post certainly doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom, though. Kelly and I always love to see how you interpret these prompts.
We all filed into the social studies teacher’s classroom when we would have ordinarily been eating lunch. The Magnavox that stood in front of the room looked like a mobile shrine to VHS, tethered with vinyl cords to the hulking steel tower. Below the set on gaping shelves sat a VCR that no one ever knew how to work and a Laserdisc player which was incremental in playing the one Laserdisc that our school owned – a college-level program about the human brain. There were a whole fleet of these things at our school, ready to be wheeled into classrooms whenever a filmstrip from 1974 couldn’t convey the news of the day.
There were only about 25 desks in the room so we all had to make due to accommodate the overflow of students. The new science lab across the hall – complete with an eyewash station, four top-of-the-lineish microscopes, and room for a pony – would have fit us all more comfortably, but since the nature of the news we were about to watch fit more neatly within the category of the study of the society than the study of micrometers and elements, we would all have to double up at the desks and bask in the warmth of each others’ bodies. Eighth graders never mind getting a whiff of each other so this wouldn’t be a problem.
We had been following the case at home since it began. Everyone had. It was the king of all freak shows in a year of freak shows. Seventh grade had primed us for it, though. That year some ice skater had been accosted and a woman had cut off her husband’s thing and tossed it into a field. Some kids had claimed to have seen a thing before but they were probably lying. We all secretly pictured hotdogs lying around sadly in a corn field and snickered at the thought of adults looking for them.
We watched these dramas play out on TV at home and then were surprised when we came to school and heard our friends mentioning them in the same breathe that they mentioned Rachel hair. We thought that our fascination with the perverse was private, or at least that the channel where these events were televised was buried so far in the back of the cable listings that no one else would see them. But it was not so, so when a new girl whose name was Lorena transferred to our class midway through the year, the teachers warned us that if anyone made any jokes about her name, we could count on a visit to the principal’s office. When Lorena finally came, she had big boobs. That seemed related somehow.
We were completely prepared for the criminal trial of some football player. His relevance had already expired by the time we were out of diapers. He was accused of killing his wife and her friend, and Entertainment Tonight had been talking about it since the fall dance of seventh grade, a lifetime ago. It was really the best show ever because we all knew what was going to happen at the end but we still got to go through the farce of the trial. At the finale of the show, the swift hand of justice would come down on the football player and his menagerie of dramatic counsel. That’s what happens when you do things so obviously bad and then actually hire people to convince the world otherwise: you get what you deserve. Then the story of your downfall is filed away within the annals of all good storytelling. Cinderella gets her shoe back along with a key to the kingdom, the candidate with the most gilded intentions wins, and OJ goes to prison for doing a very, very bad thing.
We were the only ones on our kindergarten through eighth grade campus watching this verdict. The babies were too busy learning to count their fingers and singing in a circle. Seventh grade life went on as normal, navigating fractions and diagramming sentences. But our lives were in sync with the events 2,500 miles away in California, the breaths we took nearly as shallow as those of the family members sitting in the courtroom. We were big as we sat there in the social studies room pretending to wonder what was going to happen. Our finely-tuned stomachs were growling, but whenever the TV got pulled into the classroom and classes were combined, you knew to ignore your base instincts. We smiled stoically and waited to hear what we already knew: guilty.
All in a moment, everything was wrong. We heard “not guilty” and screamed out on behalf of ourselves and all the little kids in the school, blissfully unaware as they fingerpainted and took naps. We hated feeling so sure of something, only to be told that we were wrong by the adults we had trusted. This was the very first time that they had included us into their world, and they had intentionally made fools of us.
We walked out of the classroom and into the lunchroom, disgusted and embarrassed for this adult world that we had wanted so much for ourselves. Over rectangles of pizza and peaches in light syrup, we shook our heads in disgust at this bit of news and waited for the bell to ring.
Link up with us! Here’s how to do it:
1. Write your post. Remember, it can be ANYTHING about receiving big news. Interpret the prompt as you will; we love seeing how they can be explored. Just stick with the whole “back in the day” vibe ;D
2. Grab the badge and place it at the bottom of your post.
3. Add your link below and come back to see all the other great posts your blogging pals have written! Comment on them and tweet and share your favorites using the hashtag #RTTbloghop. The link-up closes at midnight EST next Wednesday, so get your link in before then.
CANNOT WAIT TO WRITE THIS ONE :)
Can’t wait to see what you come up with! :D
Seriously. That trial was such a joke and a let down for everyone.
And yay for RTT! Glad it’s back and looking forward to it!
Wasn’t it just a huge disappointment? I feel like it was one of the first times that I truly felt like adults were full of it.
Lol. Ummm well I had already graduated high school and was in my rebellious all adults suck stage. :-)
Poor Lorena, yes because only girls with the big boobs would be tossing hot dogs into corn fields. For me, the whole OJ thing was – ok, so we screwed over your race for a hundred years? I guess we can let a few famous rental car commericial athletes get by with murder. Welcome back and it was interesting reading a younger person’s account of the OJ trial, thanks!
I think the racial component was over my head at the time, and it still is. I saw the whole ordeal as a collective dropping of the ball of EVERYONE involved: OJ, his counsel, the jurors, the media. It leaves a big impact on a kid who is used to trusting the way the world works. It does offer a little consolation, though, that he has faced so many legal problems since then.
Glad to see you back, Rob!
Let me give you a sad ‘welcome to the real world kid’ piece of information. A couple of years ago I wrote a letter and sent it through the mail to every single person in Congress and asked for them to work together, to drive to compromise about bringing the manufacturing infrastructure back to the US. Guess how many out of 435 replied – only 1, the person from my home district. It’s all a money machine Emily. I am personally fine, but it saddens me because I see how much better it could be for everyone….and the gap continues to widen between wealthy and poor and the middle class will continue to work longer and longer into their retirement years, (i.e. “you”). It makes one feel helpless.
I was a freshman in college when this happened, and I remember gathering in some girl’s dorm room to watch the verdict. But I have even more vivid memories of the Bronco chase. I was working as a hostess in a pub and grill, and we had it on the television. The whole restaurant was fixated to the television. It was weird.
And the whole “hot dogs in a corn field” and the Lorena thing was hilarious :) Clearly related. Clearly. Eighth graders are ridiculous.
Oh man, SO clearly related ;D I very vaguely remember the Bronco chase. I think what struck me the most about it was that he was supposed to be a rich celebrity or whatever, so why was he driving the same kind of car that all the rednecks in my town drove? So confusing.
I was a senior when the verdict came down, but the night in question occurred on my 17th birthday. I remember watching the dullest police chase EVER. And I remember thinking there was no way he’d get away with it.
Kind of infuriating how we were all so wrong. Yay, criminal justice system.
Yeah. It’s flawless.
OJ stayed in Niagara, at my base of operations, to be precise, on two separate occasions several years ago.
He was asked to refrain from returning for a third visit.
I’ve always resisted the idea of writing about my interactions with “Mr. Simpson”, but sooner or later I’ll open that particular vault. Perhaps in the form of a guest post for you, Emily?
Oh my word, Hookster, WRITE IT OUT! Celebrities – especially vile ones – need to have their stories told :D Maybe just give him an alias so you don’t get in hot water. LM Mimpnos?
I couldn’t believe how LONG the trial took…amazing!
It seemed like a really long time to me, too, but I think that was because I was so young at the time.
The first big events I remember are Reagan getting shot, and the first Space Shuttle launch.
In other news, there are rumors Cato Kaelin is running for office.
WHAAAAAAAAAT? I thought Robert Kardashian getting his own show was bad enough.
I don’t know who that is.
And don’t feel bad about it at all!
The only other cases that evoked this kind of response from me was the one for Casey Anthony. Both are gross injustices for the deceased, and those impacted by the loss. I was sitting in religion class in high school, and I remember looking around the room and seeing how disappointed everyone was.
The only solace I take is knowing that his life was, and still is, TOTALLY OVER.
Word. He may have been pronounced not guilty, but I feel like the verdict pronounced by society at large was much stronger. That whole trial is now considered a farce and a fluke, and he’s shown his true colors as to who he really is. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jen! :D
Emily!! You have such a gift for writing and taking someone right back there. Loved it.
Thank you, Meredith!
I, too, remember the Bronco chase more than the verdict. I think it was the summer before my senior year of high school and I was working at a movie theater. I had to get to work but the chase was on TV and it was hard to pull myself away. It’s kind of amazing how such cultural events impact a nation, regardless of age. That whole trial was a debacle and definitely eye-opening for this young adult.
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I remember watching the “slow speed” chase – and my best friend screaming into the phone (because yes, while you are watching telelvision you sit on the phone with your best friend, breathing into each others ears) that “they better pick up the speed or something so we can get back to watching the fights during the hockey game!” When it was time for the verdict, I was in high school, in New Orleans. We had those Channel One tv’s in every class, and they all just magically came on. It took about 3 seconds to realize what we were about to watch, and I remembering looking around my classroom (we are IN NEW ORLEANS PEOPLE!) and thinking – “this may not be a good idea if the verdict is guilty” – especially since I totally got the racial tones of the case and I was sitting there as one of the only white girls in the class. I was scared for my life. Not because I thought my classmates were horrible people, but it hadn’t been that long since “Can’t We All Just Get Along” and that MOB mentality DID scare the poop out of me. When he was aquitted, my classroom cheered.
I was in mid-town Manhattan on the east side on my lunch break. Suddenly everyone became still as they listened to car radios and televisions in restaurants and bars in the area. The verdict was read and the countenances of the white people standing around their cars and in bar and restaurant entrances dropped — and black people cheered. I was stunned, and frankly disappointed that there were some black people — not all — who would support this injustice especially after fighting so hard all these years for equality. How could you cheer when these people were murdered, just because a black lawyer got a black athlete off — get your priorities straight. I was overwhelmed by the racial energy in the city. I know I’m not the only black person who feels this way.