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When i was a little boy, our teacher asked if we knew hwo IBSEN was. (Henrik Ibsen is one of the most famous norwegian writers (19th century))
Well, I didn't now. But i thougt it had somthing to do with ISBN (Internationnal Standard of Book Numbers (or somthing like that)). I had seen that word on the backside of schoolbooks many times, but I was wise enough not to mention it..
I was 6 when the Chernobil reactor blew. I remember watching the news, and they of course refered to to it as 'The Plant'. For about a year I believed that there was this humongous green plant growing in Russia, and poisening everyone that came near.
As it happened, my Uncle Peter had injured his thumb in some long-ago workshop incident, but when I asked my dad the reason it was so short I got a different story: he casually explained that when you were good Santa brought you toys, but when you were bad he ground up your thumbs!
Well, I didnít believe that for a second. I did, however, believe for some reason that Walter Cronkite was George Washington. He just looks that trustworthy, I guess.
In the late 1980s, I learned in school that President Reagan was nearly assassinated in 1981. I asked my father later that day, "Did you know that the President was shot?"
I should have realized that when someone tries to kill the President, even when it is a failed assassination attempt, it is a major news story that people will remember for years. I should have asked him, "What was it like after the President was shot?"
When I was 5 or 6, my mom and my aunt would watch the Watergate hearings with me in the room, and they loved making fun of Sen. Lowell Weicker because he would move his eyebrows up and down. They called him Wacky Weicker. So for years I thought there was a U.S. senator actually named Wacky Weicker.
Oh, and I used to believe Watergate was about a gate that held back water. I had no idea it was the name of an office building until I was in my early teens.
I used to believe that President Ford invented the automobile.
When I was a kid, carnivorous dinosaurs were said to be 'flesh eaters'. My Crayon box included a pink-tan Crayon labeled 'flesh'. I decided that African cavemen probably had a much easier time getting along; furthermore, that I'd better remember to get a good tan if I ever decided to go back in time. I'm still still tanning, still hoping.
I first heard about Hitler when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I mixed him up with the painter Whistler. At some point I said something about Hitler being a painter and an adult said yes, he was that and alot more. (True-- Hitler was a failed artist.) When I finally found out about Hitler's deeds, I was horrified-- and very embarrassed that I'd gotten this so confused! Sorry Whistler......
My friend used to wonder where the actual past would go -like what would happen to the past of a car driving down a highway? It still makes me think...
In the 1960s, Martin Luther King was on the cover of Time magazine. I said, "Look Mommy, our garbage man is on the cover of this magazine."
My Dad told me various myths, the most memorable being that Harold Lloyd (black-and-white-movie star) had a wooden arm. He also told me that Roy Orbison was black and blind - he's neither.
When I was a kid, I used to think that when I breathed in air, I was breathing in some of the same molecules that had been breathed by famous people in history. Like Moses, Jesus, Einstein. As an adult, I found out that this is actually true; I read a book by Carl Sagan that said that, statistcally speaking, with every breath we breath in some of the air molecules of famous historical figures that have lived and breathed in the past! Who knew?
My grandfather once received a mysterious telephone call. "who was that?" my grandmother asked when he had hung up.
"Oh, that was Bonnie Prince Charlie," replied my grandfather. "He called to invite me to his wedding."
I pestered Grandpa for the next several weeks asking when he was going to the wedding.
I believed Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive and I might get to meet him someday if I was good.
When I was about 7, I saw part of a screening of "King Lear" on TV. The part I saw took place in the darkness and rain. My dad told me the play was set during the Dark Ages, so for many years afterward I always thought of the Dark Ages as centuries of unrelenting darkness and rain.
I used to believe that the lady in a long white dress and blue sash holding a flame in her hand ...( I think it's Columbia Pictures.. please tell me if I am wrong).. any way I thought she was the Queen of England
I read a lot of encyclopedias and pop history books when I was in elementary school. My reading skills must have been a bit off because I took references to "Stone Age Tribes" in these books the literal truth and that the Stone Age was out there somewhere today.
I also misunderstood stories about human sacrifices and the eruption of Vesuvius and thought that somehow there was a way to revisit these events every day.
When i was a little chris, whenever i saw a swastika in historical films, i thought it was the number 45,and i wondered why they had a 45 on their flag.
I used to think that people in the middle ages spoke in rhymes (like that scene in the 'Princess Bride'). I must have caught a glimpse of Romeo & Juliet or some Shakespearean movie and thought that Shakespeare's wrote dialogue as poetry because that's the way people actually spoke back in the day.
When I was young, my parents used to make me go to bed early. Back then we read a lot of old books, like Dickens, and somehow I always figured that people back in the past used to go to bed early, too. Even today, I get a little jolt of surprise when I read old novels and the characters are clearly up after 10 pm or so.