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               Tuesday, November 20 2001  

November '63

As I was making my morning coffee in the company kitchen I opened a package of decaf and put it into the filter before realizing: it's 10:30 a.m., not 2 in the afternoon; time for extra-strength regular, not decaf. Suddenly my mind flashed to November 1963 and for a second the month of John F. Kennedy's assassination was very much with me. I was for that second again the editor of the Nanty Glo Journal, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh and owner of a '62 Fairlane from Bob Simmers' Ford. I wasn't consciously thinking this; I was feeling it; I wasn't causing it but rather under its effect.

This isn't a rare occurrence, but still one that fascinates. Especially after a big trip like the recent one son Mike and I took to the UK and Ireland, I'll "flash" to a far-away place, like the central plaza in Mitchelstown, Ireland. This isn't a case of classical deja vu, at least as I understand that phenomenon. Deju vu is the exerience (for example) of opening a door to enter a room even if you've never been in that room in your life before and feeling, "I've been here and done this before"; not something like this but this very same place and action. Scientists explain it as being prompted by seeing something similar to something else, and that playing a trick on the memory part of our minds.

"Flashing" is noticeably a different phenomenon. There was no place like the company kitchen in my life as editor of the Nanty Glo Journal. I didn't even drink coffee in those days, much less prepare it for myself using a drip coffeemaker (they didn't exist yet then). This "flash" was totally an internal thing...my consciousness but not my bodily presence or rational thought was there and then rather than here and now.

Was it triggered by the distraction that had caused me to start making decaf when I meant to make regular? The distraction of being aware of a major world upheaval, something that changes everything from now on and alters every routine activity now? The awareness that the assassination of a President in my generation was unheard of/that the suicide bombing of two New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon and the murder of thousands of "innocent victims" still doesn't compute and is there in the background of my consciousness and that my mind still has to process it? Was the cause of my distraction the "familiar thing" recognized from my past that transported me there? I suspect so.

Nor was this the first time in the past two months that this same flash has occurred. I've "visited" November 1963 a number of times, which is what moves me to write about it, to see if others have had the same trip down memory lane.

Have you found yourself flashing to that most memorable timeframe of our earlier history, if like me you're around 55 or over? If you're younger, have you found the events of this autumn of our national disillusionment taking you to some other catastrophic or unbelievable event in your life?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Kids say the funniest things (second in series)

This comes from a Catholic elementary school. Kids were asked questions about the Old and New Testaments. The following statements about the Bible were written by children. They have not been retouched or corrected (incorrect spelling has been left in).

6. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

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7. Moses led the hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.

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8. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten ammendments.

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9. The first commandment was when Eve told adam to eat the apple.

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10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

—Sent by Bill Dalrymple

Advent thought of the day

We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sinwe have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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