A “Where Were You?” Moment

Last week we had one of those “Where were you?” moments in life. You know the kind.

Miss Toews' Grade Four Class at Kornelson School

Miss Toews’ Grade Four Class at Kornelson School. I’m third from the left in the back row.

Where were you during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I was hunkered down under a wooden desk in my grade four classroom on the second floor at the old Kornelson School in Steinbach. The sirens wailed and we all ducked. We had rehearsed this many times before. We waited for the signal from our teacher Miss Toews that we could come out from under our desks and make our way home as quickly as possible via the routes we had practiced walking during previous drills.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been shot? I was on my hands and knees in my grade five classroom at Southwood School painting a plaster of paris map of Canada. Someone from the school office came to give my teacher Mr. Klassen the news and he turned on the radio so we could listen to the media coverage while we worked. We had just come back to school after the lunch hour.

Dave is between his parents. His brother John is far right in the back row.

Dave is between his parents. His brother Paul is on the far left in the back row.

Where were you when the first astronauts walked on the moon? My husband Dave remembers. His older brother Paul was turning the family car onto the road that led to their farmhouse and was hit by another vehicle. Dave heard the crash and ran outside to see what had happened. He had been glued to the television screen ready to watch that first step on the moon, but as he raced to the site of his brother’s accident he missed it.

Mitchell School

Mitchell School

Where were you when you heard about the Twin Towers’ collapse? I was sitting at my desk in my classroom at Mitchell School. My grade four students were at music class. Another teacher came by and told me to turn on the radio. I did. That’s when I heard what was going on. I started to cry. I remember how hard I had to work to get a hold of my emotions so that when my students returned from their music lesson I would be calm and they wouldn’t be able to see how upset I was.

Photo of me doing art with children on the Winnipeg Art Gallery site

Where were you last week when you heard that a soldier had been shot in Ottawa guarding the war memorial? I was at the Winnipeg Art Gallery waiting to give a tour to a group of high school students. One of my fellow guides got a text message from a family member who works on Parliament Hill.  My colleague shared the news of the possible terrorist attack with the rest of us. 

There are certain events in history that remain etched in our minds. The events may be different for different people, but they resonant with us in such a way that we never forget the moment we heard about them. Of course, there are situations like that in our personal lives. I won’t ever forget exactly where I was when I heard my grandfather had died from injuries in an accident, or the circumstances surrounding my husband’s proposal of marriage to me. But those aren’t moments I shared with millions of other people. The shootings in Ottawa last week were.

Hopefully, the event will remain one that stands out and is remembered by us all, because it will be so unique, something that will not become a regular occurrence in our home and native land.

Other posts about remembering……

Where Were You ?

Remembering Sai Wan

Remembering the Children of Sichaun

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Filed under Canada, History

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