Monday, August 11, 2008

What's in a Decade?

by Julia Buckley

Today I attended a birthday party for my godson Joseph; he is now ten. Like all adults who like to think that children get older but big people don’t, I was surprised to think that ten whole years had gone by since Joey was born (my own youngest son was born the same month, and his party is next Sunday).

In order to get a sense of how long a decade really is, I looked back at the events of 1998 so that I could decide if it really felt as though ten years had passed. Tell me what you think:

In 1998:

--January 22: The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, pled guilty and accepted a sentence of life without parole.

--February 3: A United States military pilot caused the deaths of 20 Italian skiers riding on a lift. The low-flying plane snapped the cable that supported the conveyance.

--February 7: The Winter Olympics began in Nagano, Japan.

--March 5: NASA announced Lt. Col. Eileen Collins as the first woman commander of a space shuttle mission.

--April 7: Citicorp and Travelers Group reveal plans to merge into Citigroup.

--May 14: The final episode of Seinfeld aired after nine years on the air.

--June 3: A high-speed train derailed in Germany, causing 101 deaths.

--June 4: Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison for consipiring in the Oklahoma City Bombing.

--July 17: Czar Nicholas II and his family were buried in St. Petersburg, 80 years after they were slain by Bolsheviks.

--August 17: Bill Clinton admitted that he had an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinsky.

--September 7: Google, Inc. was founded.

--October 15: American Airlines became the first airline to offer electronic ticketing.

--November 9: The United Kingdom formally abolished the death penalty.

--December 19: Bill Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives.

In books, juvenile literature had some standouts:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling) and
Holes (Louis Sachar).

In the world of mystery, P.D. James, 77 at the time, published A Certain Justice.

At the Academy Awards:
Best Picture: Shakespeare in Love
Best Director: Steven Spielberg.... Saving Private Ryan
Best Actor: Roberto Benigni .... Life is Beautiful
Best Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow.... Shakespeare in Love

Looking at all of these things, I realize that it does, in fact, seem like a long time ago. Children, because we see them every day, create the illusion that time can stand still. At the end of a decade, though, I can say that I am most pleased with the little men my son and my nephew have become—and I have the highest hopes for what they might accomplish in the next ten years.

Let us hope that in 2018 (yikes) the events someone lists on a blog will contain MUCH good news and that the young people I speak of will continue to bring hope into our world.


Lonnie Cruse said...

Shriek! Are you telling me it's no longer the 1990's???

Actually, it seems like yesterday that so many people were in a panic over Y2K. I never really understood it enough to panic. Snicker.

Great post and Happy Birthday to you nephew and your son.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Lonnie.

Yeah, time is elusive. And I waste a lot of TIME contemplating that notion. :)

Cait London said...

Mm. 10 years. As writers, we're supposed to have goals, i.e. Where do you want to be in 5 years? I'm having a problem with short-term 1 year. I've been cruising the blogs this a.m., and there is a common theme, taking things slower, enjoying them more, contemplate more. It's interesting that time and direction and introspection all seem to be popping up. I wonder what that means in the universalty of it all.

Julia Buckley said...

Very philosophical, Cait! And I think unavoidable, especially for writers who tend to be contemplative anyway. :)