When I was in third grade, we learned about The Challenger explosion, which happened 25 years ago today and is the reason why I’m thinking about all of this. In some way, my nine year old mind managed to turn this lesson into a cause for concern, that perhaps something equally as tragic could happen to my beloved teacher or even to me someday when I became a teacher. I managed to convince myself that if I really paid attention and became totally fixated on in, I could somehow prevent further tragedy from happening.
When I got home from school, I told my parents all about what I’d learned. In turn, my dad told me about how he remembered watching it live in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house where we were living at the time (whether I was there with him or not is still unclear. I may have been at pre-school, but he thinks I was there). He was talking to my mom on the phone and told her that it had just blown up, and she didn’t believe him. I have a memory of being in my grandma’s kitchen, of my dad sitting there with the TV on. I can see the coiled phone cord stretched across the room. I just don’t know if that’s the same memory. It’s been driving me kind of crazy for 19 years.