1986: I turn 29


1986: In January I’m at work when the Challenger disintegrates just seconds after lift off. We get a TV on in a conference room. Work in Columbus is less fun. Fewer lawyers, less urgency, no glitter. I’m the only female so nobody but the guys to eat lunch with. It surprises me that I miss lunches with women. In between work and picking Kathleen up, I walk around the park–my first attempt at voluntary exercise. Cal goes to work on Saturday for a few hours; I go on Sunday. Daily life in Columbus is much easier than in Atlanta–no traffic and shorter distances. We take trips–skiing and Bermuda and the beach. I drive a white Volvo. One evening I catch the back yard on fire. But mostly life settles in–to carpools, picking up shoes, and dentist appointments. On TV we watch the Braves, and Cheers, and Hill Street Blues.

31 days to 60


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

3 thoughts on “1986: I turn 29

  1. Oh, that is all so familiar. I was in my junior year in high school when the Challenger went–I remember a senior rushing into my French class to announce it b/c her calculus class had been watching on the one TV in the building. Sooooooooo sad. One of my earliest moments of realizing terrible, terrible things happen for no reason, and innocent people die all the time before their time. (I was a hormonal and morose kid.) Hill Street Blues and Cheers, the drama and comedy of the time. Yep.

    Caught the yard on fire??

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  2. Claire, Sorry I’m so behind in responding to your wonderful comments! Yeah, Cal put the embers from the fireplace in a brown paper bag and then on a metal table that sat outside our back door. When I took the kitchen trash to the bins by the garage, I just grabbed that bag up not knowing what was inside. Later that evening, friends arrived at our house to go out to dinner, but we decided to have a drink first. When I went to the kitchen to get the beer/wine, out the kitchen window, the back yard was on fire. No cordless phone so I dialed 911 and stretched the cord as far as it went to yell to the others in the living room that the back yard was on fire. They went rushing out there only to find the hose attached to a Micky Mouse sprinkler thingy. But in the end, just some dead grass, dead tree limbs, a melted trashcan, maybe a burned side of the garage, and a good story. Could have been SO MUCH WORSE.


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