When most females are little girls, they imagine that being a princess means living in a castle, having a crown of gold, and wearing a long gown of pink or lilac. My ten year old self was no exception. At this age, I enjoyed a plethora of make believe games, like playing dress up, as it gave me the chance to boast my early dramatic flare. I pranced around my house in over sized dresses and sparkling shoes from my dress up box and spoke in a lofty accent to my playmates. This is probably the reason why, on the long weekend in August of '97, when family and I were visiting with friends, my Mom simply laughed and shoo-shooed me back to my sisters as I marched up to her and the other adults on the deck to announce that "Princess Diana has died".
I did what my Mom said -went back into the TV room where the news was on every channel, reporting the death of this princess. What my mom didn't realize that night was this time, my princess game was not entirely made up. By the next morning at breakfast, my Mom seemed to have heard of the international news. She asked me if I was just playing the night before when I had told her about Princess Di, to which I shrugged my small shoulders and said "the TV said so". In this moment, I can still remember the look on my mother's face -one of simultaneous shock and sorrow. When we returned home, the face of Princess Di (who wasn't at all what I thought a princess looked like) was everywhere - in the newspaper, on covers of magazines, and on the TV. And I will never forget that.
This, to me, is unbelievable. A lifestyle above me, an ocean between us, and nothing at all in common, I can still remember the vivid details surrounding Princess Diana's death. For the rest of my life, I expect to remember the details of world events like 911 or the Virginia Tech Massacre. But Princess Diana? Undoubtedly it was a huge event, but I didn't watch the news when I was a kid, I played pogs and sang Spice Girls.
Of course, when an event is as big as something like the death of Princess Di, it moves beyond news coverage so that people of all ages remember it (albeit in different ways). Like Princess Di, there are parts of the 90's, besides toys, movies, and television, that I can clearly recall hearing about as a kid. A child and adult perspective vary greatly from each other, especially on instances of importance. I've decided to make a list of some of the top "news-related" things that I can, as accurately as possible, recall learning about in the 90's, whether voluntary or not:
- Princess Diana (see above) and Mother Theresa - I still remember the deaths of two prominent promoters of charity that passed on within two weeks of each other. I knew that both must have been very good people, as the story of their lives' dominated the mainstream media.
- O.J. Simpson, 1994/1995 - I was only 8, and I remember that my Mom said he was a 'bad man" with a black glove (which I often times got confused with the white glove of Michael Jackson, but still, they were both scary). Anyway, I knew he was in the NFL too, and football still scares me to this day.
- Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding, also in 1994 - I remember that Harding clubbed Kerrigan in the knee so she could win a gold medal. I never really knew exactly what happened but I got the gist - it was the wrong thing to do and Harding still placed 10th. Guess she missed about nine targets.
- JonBenet Ramsey, 1996 - All I remember is that she was pretty and rich. And because of that, she was killed. But nobody knew by whom. But she was pretty.... and rich.
- Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky, 1998 - I was 12 when this all broke out, so I understood that Clinton was adulterous, and because of that, he was an inadequate President of the U.S.A. (*Some things never change...)