My 7th grade Social Studies teacher was on the “short list” to be picked, so our class followed the Space Shuttle Challenger story closely that entire school year.
He wasn’t picked but my interest remained the next year in 8th grade.
January 28th, 1986, we were all home from school. It was a “Teacher’s Day”. It was also my 14th birthday.
So what a special treat it was: Home from school on my birthday *and* I got to follow a shuttle launch with the first civilian that *could have* been my teacher!
It was surreal when it happened.
Next morning at homeroom, the jokes began. “One blew right / one blew left”. Where’d the jokes come from? No idea. There seems to either be a “kid network” or just the same idea popped into a lot of people at the same time. [this was pre-Internet]
*That* year’s history teacher was going over “Crispus Attax”. She said that we’d forget all the other names of the Challenger disaster but remember Christie McCaulliffe, just like we only remember Cruspis Attax in the Boston Massacre.
We were like, “No way!” and we could each rattle off all of their names.
She was right. I remember Captain John Smith, because I never knew that many John Smith’s in real life (even though it’s supposed to be a common name) but otherwise? I don’t remember.
So, that’s my story.