We all have those moments in our sub-conscious. The Attack on Pearl Harbor, The Kennedy Assassination, The Day Lennon Died, The Attack on 9/11. Those are days of mass consciousness. Everyone can recall where they were, what they were doing.
I was pregnant with my now Army Private son. I was home alone with my daughter because my husband was away in Sacramento for training. Before everyone had a cell phone it was impossible to get hold of him. He had a work pager but all the phone lines were not working. I was totally stressed. We hadn’t been married long and in many ways I was still a child, not capable of adult thoughts and behavior. I laugh now at the girl I was then.
We had been watching the World Series with San Francisco and Oakland and eating dinner. The door was open to the garage because it was such a hot day. We wanted to catch any breeze we could. The ground rumbled and rolled beneath our feet like a wave on the beach. The garage door opened swung so violently I was afraid it would land on the car in the garage. Outside I could see cars bouncing on the street.
When the television finally came back on we could see the devastation of the Nimitz Freeway. Two levels of highway pancaked into less than one. We knew we had been lucky to live in the East Bay and only feel a portion of what they got in the city.
Once my husband got the news he rushed home, only to immediately rush to work as a State Police Officer. We didn’t see him again for many hours and only a few hours for quite a few days to come.
I had nightmares for quite a while after seeing the destroyed freeway and the missing portion of the Bay Bridge. We refused to go over that bridge for a long time after it was repaired.
In writing you have to remember that your characters have lived through events too. Think of what they felt, how they dealt with it, and how it affects how they deal with life now. Characters are people too.
What world, countrywide, or local event affected you deeply?