Twenty-five years ago tonight I was staying at a cheap hotel in Leeds, while the legal biz for our new house was being completed. I had an early mobile phone provided by the BBC (with battery, this was the size of a small suitcase).
Mrs R rings me. "Are you watching the news?"
"Put it on NOW - people are crossing the Berlin wall!'
"WHAAAT? Are you sure?"
Are they being shot at?"
I turned on the tiny TV in the room. The unbelievable had happened. Truly, if someone had said aliens had landed in Leeds I could not have been more amazed. Over the summer, with incursions from the border in Hungary, it seemed possible there would be some sort of attempt at a mass crossing. But thought if so it would be long-drawn out and bloody. I would never have imagined there would just be a shrug from the guards and the borders opened.
The next morning I was watching the TV over breakfast and started crying. "Are you alright, sir?" "Well, yes, but, it's the news...the Berlin wall..." I waved a fork at the TV. "Oh, right". Carries on. Perhaps you had to have been there.
Four external events in my life that are indelibly marked in my mind: JFK Assassination, Apollo 11 moon landing, Berlin wall opened, and '9/11'. Funny how the UK format of '9/11' (9 November) and the US format (11 September) loom large in our lives and imaginations. Well, they do mine, anyway. And we'd just gone 'public' that Mrs Rudin was pregnant.
Paul Simon wrote this for his daughter born during this period. Special times.