The Post-Dispatch asks: Where were you when the Challenger exploded?
I was in a job interview with the editor of the Clayton/West Citizen Journals. (“Do you mind if I smoke?” the editor asked at the beginning of the interview. “It’s your office,” I replied somewhat awkwardly. Am I going to say “yes, I mind,” when I want her to hire me?) We were halfway into the interview when one of the paper’s ad salesmen came in and told us the space shuttle had blown up.
It was the flight with the “first teacher in space,” Christa McAuliffe. The editor said she knew McAuliffe, had met her at some point. More awkwardness: “I’m sorry,” I said. Of course I was sorry — the shuttle had exploded and our country had lost several astronauts — but the sorrow had to be turned into something personal for the editor, as she reached for another cigarette.
Anyway, I got the job, my first full-time job in journalism.
It’s interesting to think about the “Where were you when…” moments in our lives. There are probably only a handful of them that everybody can remember in any lifetime: JFK’s assassination, the Challenger explosion, 9/11 … what others am I missing?