People say that our memory indelibly marks certain events within us, filing them right beside where we were and what we were doing at those very moments. For instance, JFK's assassination and his last moments riding in the infamous blue convertible prompted my recollection of the secure warmth of embryonic fluid enveloping me, as the bun in the oven that I was split into two. It was the moment nature deemed I become an identical twin. The date was November 22, 1963. Nine months later, I was born, 3 minutes following my mirror image. Memory is an episodic wonder second only to imagination.
On March 30th, 1981, I was reading a Tiger Beat magazine, fawning over Sean Cassidy while also watching my afternoon "stories". BREAKING NEWS flashed across the screen.
My soap opera was replaced by a confusing skirmish. I don't remember hearing a sound, but saw a handsome older man's knees buckle simultaneously as he was caught in a riptide of g-men who surrounded and swept him into an inlet of grabbing arms no one could escape. A current of black suits swirled him into a vehicle, Moments of mayhem lagged where Ronald Reagan once stood. I watched the footage in curious horror. It was a train wreck, an assassination attempt that occurred in front of a wall of grayness. At least that's what I remember. November 1963 and March 1981, what's that saying about history?
If you have an inquiring mind and want to learn more about ancient technology, www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF8XjnU0TMQ will take care of that need. It just goes to show how far we have come, until we circle back.
I was 44 years old when the first black man was elected president, and I was working at a teaching hospital where many of the support staff were African American. Tears of elation graced their faces. The US was evolving. Did my colleagues dare hope of a future that would prove different for their children? In 7 seconds, one knee to a neck, and the words "I can't breathe", those tears of elation morphed into tears of grief. The emotion is palpable. History was spinning faster than a revolving door controlled by an 8-year-old boy without a parent in sight. Do we shout at the boy or the one who gave him free rein? It seems the answer relies upon whom you ask.
Time flies when you are having fun (and even when you are not). At 58, I'm glued to the TV watching Russia invade Ukraine with an overwhelming sense of dread and sadness, wondering If I would have the resolve or if I could be as brave as the Ukrainians are if thrust into the same circumstances. Though brave, there is fear. Is the anxiety I feel mine or theirs? Our collective consciousness is crying out. A madman is threatening a sovereign nation and the consequences are dire. Putin, Hitler, Putin, Hitler-Can we really be this stupid? Why can't we stop this revolution? Wait, what? The door or the war?
For now, I am lucky enough to have a respite because, at age 58 plus one day, I am content to be In the air, soaring through the clouds as I sit next to a new mother who is flying with her 5-month-old cherub of a boy for the first time. We met managing airport security. I was examined closely because of a forgotten metal tin of chapstick in my pocket, and she because of her diaper bag full of baby must haves. As I helped her with her bags, I silently hoped she and tiny he would be seated next to me on the flight (not your typical wish, I know). As I boarded the plane and found my seat, there they were, right across the aisle! My heart melts as he flirts with me, fusses and then goes to sleep only to wake and repeat. For a moment, I forget about the world we are creating for him. For now, I just see dimples, a new mom, a new journey and what could be for all of us if we just used the rejuvenating warmth of a baby's peek-a-boo smile to navigate the complications of adulthood and to stick a foot in the path of history's revolving door. Imagine the memories we could share. We could still have them, you know. Maybe there would just be fewer attached to tragic world events.
Think about it. Where were you the day history stopped repeating itself? Now that is a memory I would treasure.
Revolving door, meet history.
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