This One’s for Jeremy

Since today is my son’s birthday, I’ll make today’s theme post about him.  When Jeremy was born, my hospital room number was 356.  At the time, Florida had only recently enlisted “Cash 3” in its lottery games.  I’ve never been one to play the lottery very often, but perhaps about once a year, I play for fun.  However, that day, I told my family we should play 356 on a Cash 3 that night.  (This was odd for me, because I’ve never been one to take the numbers given to me by any particular event, but rather I prefer to select them myself.)  No one listened to me, and of course I was in no position to go out and buy a ticket.  Well, you guessed it…  That was the number that won that night!  It was a $117 payout for a $1 ticket.

In 2003, when Jeremy was nine, we lived in Orlando.  Whenever a space shuttle would launch, if it was during work or school hours, his school would go outside to watch as it took off, and my co-workers and I would stand at the windows and watch.

On January 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched.  At the time, I was watching out my office window, and Jeremy was with his class out on the field.  A short time later, Jeremy’s third grade teacher called me and asked me to come pick him up.  (This was not unusual, because with his Asperger’s Syndrome, he frequently disrupted his class.)  She said that ever since the shuttle took off, Jeremy started telling everyone that would listen that the shuttle was, “Not ever going to come back to earth,” and that several children in his class were quite upset by his repeating this.  At the time, neither his teacher or I (or Jeremy) had watched the news where it was reported that less than two minutes after the shuttle took off, a large piece of it broke off.

For the next several days, Jeremy was like a broken record as he looked into the sky and emotionlessly said, “That shuttle’s never coming back.”   (With Asperger’s Syndrome, he has little to no empathy and had no clue why he was being offensive or inappropriate.)  He kept saying it so often that his teacher phoned me several more times to try to make him stop.

Well, of course you already know the rest.  On February 1, 2003, the shuttle blew up upon reentry to the atmosphere!  Upon hearing the news, Jeremy simply said, “I knew it,” and he never spoke of it again.

Talk to me:  Do you remember the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster?  What space shuttle event do you remember most, and where were you when it occurred?  If a kid in your third grade class made such a bold prediction, would it have frightened you?