Friday, January 28, 2011


On January 28th, 1986, I was in the second semester of my freshman year at Concord College. I lived in Men's Towers, where the room setup was a two-room suite. The rooms housed two students each - so four students lived in each suite - and shared a common foyer, large closet, and bathroom. My cousin Rusty and I lived in one room, and Kenny and Jeff, two grads of Baileysville High School, shared the other.

I got back to Towers that afternoon after my last class of the day, so, I'm thinking, a little after 2 PM. Kenny and Jeff had the door to their room propped open, and their TV was on. (Oddly, I can't remember if Rusty was present. Since I don't remember anything about him being part of this scene, I'm thinking he was still in a class.)

I walked past their open door without noticing what was on their TV, said something like, "Hey guys, how's it goin'?" and started to put the key into the lock on my room's door.

Jeff said, in a detached, indistinct monotone, "Space shuttle blew up."

This phrase just didn't make sense to me. At all. It was like a string of nonsense syllables.

I said "What?"

Jeff said, again, in just the same way, "Space shuttle blew up."

That time I understood him. I wish I hadn't.

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