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Friday, April 20, 2007


Survivor, in a way

This weeks tragic events at Virginia Tech brought back some, quite frankly, disturbing memories for me.

I consider myself a survivor of sorts of the Cal State Fullerton massacre in 1976. I was there, but totally unaware.

It was a odd day. I didn't have any classes, but a group of us decided to meet at the library (where the shootings took place) and study for an upcoming exam. Our CommLaw professor was just awful (we called him Ed Sullivan, he talked just like him)and his tests were some of the most unclear any of us had ever encountered. With only passing the latest travesty of college life in mind, we decided to meet right out front of the building.

The day began rather early. Your stereotypical Southern California day-sunny and warm. When we were through congregating, we decided that since we wouldn't be able to discus anything in the library, that we'd head over to the courtyard in the student union. We could "catch some rays", drink, eat and most important, study.

That choice may have very well saved our lives! We had no idea what was going on at our first destination!

Remember, this was 31 year ago, no cell phone, no texting. No TV's in the student union. My parents were at work and heard the news on the radio. They were panicking-to say the least.
They knew I was there.

Meanwhile, my merry band and I were studying away, blissful in our ignorance. Hours (almost a whole days worth) later, we gathered up our stuff and walked out. We decided that since it was getting late, we'd walk to our cars by way of the gym. Again, bypassing all that was/had been going on in the main quad of the campus.

When I arrived home, I was greeted by a very livid set of parents. "Didn't you have a dime, why didn't you call us collect for God sakes? Didn't we raise you to be more thoughtful and considerate????"

I just stared at them as if they had completely cracked. "What are you going on about? I said I'd be home at 6, and it is. I'm in college and almost 18 now!"

They now realized I had no idea what had happened. They turned on the television. Then I just stared. Wow! The hair on my arms raised (as it is actually doing right now) and I began to listen to the latest update. My parents began to settle down. We were horrified and relieved.

The phone rang. One of my study group called-had I seen or heard what had been going on all day literally a few yards from us? The rest of the evening was spent either calling other members of our clan or getting them.

Classes were cancelled the next day. Our CommLaw professor would up in the hospital. One of the victims had been a close friend and the shock had almost caused a stroke.

As with most bad events, I put this one into the very back of my mind. Until Virginia Tech. I do hope that this memory goes back to that cubbyhole of its very soon.

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