Members of the Oasis senior enrichment program at the Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center reflected on news headlines from the past 26 years at a recent event.
“Headlines in History,” held Dec. 29, focused on 12 memorable articles printed in The Washington Post since 1988, covering topics as diverse as politics, sports, historical figures, celebrities and business.
An article titled “Princess Diana Killed in Car Crash,” published Aug. 31, 1997, produced murmurs of recognition. The story led one person to recall visiting Buckingham Palace in England.
Another headline, “JFK Jr. Feared Dead in Plane Crash,” published July 18, 1999, prompted talk not of John F. Kennedy Jr. but of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
Oasis member Sally Nicholson, 81, said she was teaching nursing students then at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and was at the hospital when the president was brought there after being shot.
Nicholson attended the discussion at the Levine Center with her sister, Lucy Guy Shockley, 77, who was visiting Charlotte from Warm Springs, Ga.
Other headlines dealt with the death of civil-rights activist Rosa Parks, the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, Martha Stewart, anthrax, the stock market, O.J. Simpson, a D-Day anniversary, Magic Johnson and the Iran-Contra indictments.
Rabbi David Powers, 68, used his study of presidential communications to comment on some of the articles about politics and history.
Powers said he researched presidential communications during his dissertation when he was in a doctorate program in communication at Kent State University.
Jill Lipson, director of senior and adult services at the center, facilitated the discussion using newspapers she brought from home. She said the idea arose because she majored in print journalism in college, and because her husband, Marc, selects certain articles to save as a hobby.
Marc Lipson, 42, was not able to attend the event but said later by phone that he has collected articles since 1988, when he was a high school student, saving the entire section where an article appears.
Though he culls the collection occasionally, there are enough articles to fill several large plastic storage bins.
Articles from The Washington Post comprise the bulk of his collection because he grew up in Maryland. He said he first began saving articles when the Iran-Contra affair was discussed in government class, and he realized something historical was happening.
If it weren’t for the Oasis event, the newspapers simply would be sitting in his garage, he said.
He said he still follows the news and sometimes persuades his son, Spencer, 10, to watch news magazine “60 Minutes” on television with him.
Jill Lipson said she offered the event to elicit memories from Oasis members and encourage them to share perspectives.
“We’re all different, and they’ve experienced things differently than I have,”
One participant told the group the passage of time is evident through newspaper articles, and it feels like somebody is “spinning the world faster.”