November 9, 1989 is the first historic event where I can tell you, I remember where I was when…
I was babysitting. The toddler and I were going through a seemingly endless cycle of
“OK, I’ll fix you a bottle.” (Head for fridge, get out bottle)
“No! BATO! WAAAAAAH!” (runs for bedroom, hides under crib)
“There’s no bottle under there. Come on, I’ll fix you a bottle in the kitchen.”
Eventually she forgot about her bato and went in the living room and showed me that she knew how to turn on the TV. On the TV, there were people sitting on the Berlin wall and hitting it with hammers. Then the little girl showed me she knew how to turn off the TV. The interval was short enough that I couldn’t really tell what was going on. Was it a movie? It wasn’t time for the regular news.
On. A big machine is taking a chunk out of the Wall. Off.
On. People are dancing. Off.
On. People are walking through gaps. Off.
On. A talking head: “…today’s historical e-” Off.
I still wasn’t sure it was real when I went home that evening, having learned that the toddler’s usual caregiver was her unilingual Spanish-speaking grandmother; “bato” meant “sabato” which is Spanish for “shoe”; and her shoes really were under the crib.
It was only the next morning when there was a big special in the newspaper that I was really sure what I’d seen.