By Julie Grenness

    This is a classic question. Where you when you first heard the song, “West of the Wall”? That is from the archives of the baby boomers. My mother was ironing in a sweltering kitchen, singing along to the radio. She had a beautiful voice.

    Mum explained to her junior homework club what the Berlin Wall meant in terms of lost hopes and loves. I played that song the other day. It was a still a fresh image of the rest of the world, compared to a weatherboard, a garden, and the peace our parents had yearned.

    Job done, for a while.

    So where were you when you heard about the assassination of JFK? I cannot remember. But as youngsters, we became aware of the impact on the USA and the western world. Where were you when the first man landed on the moon? In high school, surrounded by hundreds of teens, looking at fuzzy images on one black and white television. That was a momentous time in human history.

    Where were you when you heard about the passing of Elvis? That day, I was driving home from my first teaching job, listening to popular music on a local radio station. The song was interrupted. “Elvis Presley died today. The king is dead. Rock’n’Roll will never die.” Or did the commentator say, “Long live Rock’n’Roll”? It was long ago and far away, a faded memory. This mattered to us in our generation.

    Where were you when you first watched Dr. Who? Now, that is a good question. I think it must have been sometime in the late or mid-sixties, sitting in the lounge-room, somewhere in middle Melbourne. My father was asleep in his armchair, as normal. Gazing at our ABC, the rest of the family were fascinated.

    The music of Dr. Who was like nothing we had ever heard before, synthesised, eerie, a symbol. Soon we were taken travelling in four dimensions, in a new genre of Science Fiction. I loved that show! A lot of the material in early episodes would now be banned for politically incorrect attitudes.

    The Daleks appeared, scary aliens we soon imitated, like later generations of children. My classroom of schoolchildren used to say, in strange voices, “Stop giving us so much work, or you will be exterminated!” This old Dalek replied, “Do your homework, or you will be exterminated. You will be in grade six forever!” It was hard not to laugh.

    Yes, the terms Dalek and Tardis have become officially part of the Oxford English language over the intervening years. Dr. Who has been regenerated many times, the scripts are still great, but the sets have improved. Dr. Who time-travels on, to tempt our good imaginations.

    Currently, around the world, there are a plethora of Dr. Who fan clubs, meeting personally or online, depending on social restrictions. Two of my old acquaintances have been members here in Australia for years. Living in this climate, in middle Melbourne, we are supposed to raise our hoodies for Dr. Who, in any circumstance.

    Classic question. Where were you when…?

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