Saturday, August 25, 2012

A you're-getting-older moment

Today I experienced the same phenomenon I did while teaching high school, when I realized that, gradually, the students ceased having personal memories of 9/11.

I'm in the checkout at the grocery store, having had to pick up a few things, and noticed that one of the tabloids had Princess Diana's picture on it, along with a headline intimating that her death was not an accident. 

I shook my head and commented about it to the cashier: "Honestly, do they have nothing else to write about than  Princess Diana, when she's been dead for 15 years?"

"How exactly did she die again?" the cashier asked.

I looked at her, thought "seriously?"--  and then realized that she was probably only about 18. It hit me that, being only a toddler in 1997, she would have no personal memory of Princess Di's passing.

Still, it was surreal to have to explain to this girl that Diana was killed in a car wreck in Paris while being chased through a tunnel by paparazzi. I could only imagine that this is how people my parents' age feel telling someone of a younger generation that John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas. 

Strange to have vivid memories of a major world news event , and to encounter people who don't.