Three events in my lifetime are especially memorable. I recall exactly what I was doing upon learning of each occurrence. Each of them involves the United States of America. Those events in chronological order are 1.) the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (November 22, 1963); 2.) Commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon (July 20, 1969); and, 3.) the World Trade Centre attacks (September 11, 2001). These are clearly inspiring benchmarks for any civilization.
The memories are also important hallmarks of my own life. Though the recollections are obviously vivid details of American history, each of them captures as well a crucial juncture in my own life.
The Kennedy Assassination (1963)
I was 14 years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. My parents and younger sister lived in Stockholm, Sweden where my father had joined the Canadian consulate. I had just begun Fourth Form at St. Andrew’s College near Toronto, Ontario. We had several boys in school who were Americans. When the Headmaster’s office came over the school intercom system we were told to assemble in the chapel. I remember hearing the American boys cry. What however disturbed me most about the Kennedy assassination (aside from the curiosity of labelling murder as assassination – as though political execution somehow palliates the horror) was the mere possibility of such calculated savagery in the United States of America. Through my father’s diplomatic service in Washington, DC I had acquired a neighbourly acquaintance with the United States of America. Throughout my entire subsequent life the names of former American neighbours resurfaced and naturally reflected the evolution of families – marriages, employment and even some distress related in particular to litigation arising from the government of President Richard N. Nixon who lived nearby and with whom several people in the area were unfortunately aligned.
The Moon Landing (1969)
This “astronomic” event was practically overshadowed by the energy surrounding my experimental youthful outings during undergraduate studies at Glendon Hall in Toronto. It was a zealous period of discovery in addition to the scholarly pursuits; namely, booze, nefarious combustibles, sexuality and general graduation from childhood to adulthood. The sexual feature for example grew from relentless novelty to a less than desirable outcome when I undertook the care of a young woman who had to decided to abort an unwelcome pregnancy from her boyfriend. Otherwise my social engagements involved experimental dining at chic French restaurants, sipping rocket fuel served by a professional prostitute at Stop 33 in the Sutton Place Hotel, learning about golf scholarships at the University of Hawaii, polishing my familiarity with bling and confirming that a needed a degree in law if I were ever to accomplish anything in life.
“The Sutton Place Hotel was a 33-storey hotel and apartment building located at 955 Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Designed by the architectural firm Webb Zerafa Menkès Housden and operating from 1967 to 2012, Sutton Place was one of Toronto’s most luxurious hotels and was known for frequently hosting dignitaries and celebrities. It was operated by the Sutton Place Hotel Company (SP), which also manages hotel properties in Edmonton, Halifax, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Vancouver (The Sutton Place).“
World Trade Centre Attacks (2001)
To my everlasting embarrassment I awoke to the global tragedy of the World Trade Centre attacks by harping at a clerk of a title insurance company in Toronto. On the morning of the attacks I had been in my law office early to complete a real estate transaction which involved purifying the final details of the applicable title insurance policy. Software had recently been developed by the Law Society of Upper Canada for its superlative choice. Following the American terrorist attacks the entire web system of North America had been shut down. When this suddenly wiped my computer screen clean I called Toronto for an explanation. The news was something beyond everything imaginable.
For good or for bad I regularly reignite memories of my past. Part of my ambition is purely historic; that is, to recapture landmark events. Sometimes the reverie is intent upon reliving the euphoria. At other times the agenda is more broadly defined to summarize the celebrations of a lifetime. It is axiomatic that the revisitation of these highlights are purely reflective – though they may hint at the development of patterns.