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Excerpts from the 2070 Terkel Historical Project

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In honor of the great 20th Century historian, Studs Terkel, historians at Harvard began the 2070 Terkel Historical Project which aimed at collecting personal stories of major events that have shaped the 21st Century. Below are excerpts from some of the individuals interviewed for the project.

[Note, some entries contain adult language and the author/recorder of these experiences does not necessarily condone nor share the views held by these individuals]

“My mom was crying when I came home. It was a Friday, the day after the crash. She wasn’t expecting me ‘cause the schools had closed due to the national emergency. Well, I guess it was a global emergency, wasn’t it. I asked her what was wrong and she said, ‘it’s gone, it’s all gone.’ She meant their IRA, 401Ks, savings and checking. All gone. That’s how bad it was. One day you’re able to buy food, pay your bills, and the next, if your accounts were with a bank that was hit by the virus…nothing. 
   On Monday my dad lost his job. Two days later my mom did as well. All because the Crash Virus had destroyed their places of employment. They were able to make due for about two months. But then the bank foreclosed on our house. Don’t really understand that. If the banks had been so hard hit, how did they still have records to know they could evict us? My dad had wanted to stick it out in town, but my mom was dead set against that. She really wanted to get back to her parents in Maine. She packed up everything and was ready to just abandon the house, walk away. But then she realized we didn’t even have money for gas. We weren’t going anywhere. She cried a lot back then.”
-Joshua Fallon, 55 years old.

“I was only about three or so at the time, so I don’t remember much. For years my mom would just tell me, ‘the Indians got him,’ when I’d ask about my dad. She'd say that all the time, that and ‘I thank God you weren’t born “strange.”’ She meant elven or dwarven of course. I didn’t share her views. Lots of my friends were meta when I was growing up.
   “When I turned eighteen I started to dig a little to find out about my dad. I had to be real sneaky; my mom still wouldn’t talk about him, even then. Finally I broke into her desk and that’s where I found all the paper work, you see. Turns out my dad had been a research scientist at Los Alamos. That’s why my mom never had to work, there were nearly two decades worth of pension check stubs in there, all from the military. He had been away two weeks working on a new rocket motor design. He died on Saturday July 12, 2014, when the Indians caused the Redondo eruption.
   “As soon as I realized that my dad was gone, around 2015 or so, we moved in with my grandparents in Latrobe, in Pennsylvania. It was nice there. I remember being in first grade when the big four erupted. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, I could see it in the faces of the adults; the war was over.”
- Martha Hill, 59 years old.

“I was a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox after the war. It was 2039 during Basic, that was the first time I heard it. I said something like, ‘Clean them boots till they shine, it’s the first step to getting back the glory of the old U.S. of A.’ and this green little piss-ant, real arrogant prick that took weeks to break, pipes up and says, ‘Well, if the old U.S. was so great then how’d the redskins break it?’ I hit him so hard I don’t think he heard a word of what I said after, but I made damn sure the rest of them did. I said, ‘You little shits are so sure of how the world works. You see magic on your momma’s trideo at home and you see street performers making illusions of your girlfriends dance on the streets. But by Jesus and Mary in 2014 no one had seen that shit! No one had seen a ten foot column of fire toss around half your fucking platoon like a pissed off toddler opening a shitty gift from your grandma! No one had prepared you for when you empty a full magazine at one of them prairie niggers only to see them smile, wave their hand, and turn the guy next to you in to a puddle of flesh!’
   “Seemed like every year there were more and more kids coming in thinking the same thing. By ’45 they moved me to a desk so I didn’t hear much about it then. Never let one not hear about it if they piped up though. Them Indians didn’t play by the rules. They changed everything.”
- Sergeant Alex Waller, 74 years old.

"It was during a sermon, that my sister started changing. It was the beginning of the second wave of UGE, and most of the people here in Poland were scared out of their minds. My mother fainted, and my dad and i kneeled over by her, trying to both cover Sylvia from those hatefull, scared, prying eyes of a whole congregation, and to give her as much comfort as we could. We knew nothing about UGE, even though my cousin had a dwarf baby, and my girlfriend (i was still in high-school back then) had a baby-elf sister. Our priest, father Jeremy, was a traditionalist, though he didn't outright condemn all those non-humans, he didn't seem to treat them as God's children. I raised my head to look at him, and he was still standing there, halfway through one of his wide gestures, that he used to make a point in his speeches. I didn't really remember what he was saying before it happened. I never paid attention, either lost in my thoughts, or trying to sneak as many glances of my girl as i could.
Father Jeremy looked at me... past me, at my sister, writhing in pain. And then he finished his sermon with those few rare words of wisdom i thought i'd never find in the Bible. "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.". I never became this inspired, but when he walked to us, to embrace Sylvia with us, i knew something's changed in his soul. He had tears running down his face, and that unfocused look, that spellcasters have when they're concentrating. Off course, i didn't know that. I just saw our priest coming down to embrace her, along with her family. She stopped crying when he touched her, and people rushed both to the door, muttering curses (most of them moved to other congregations), and to us, to pray, hold my mother's hand, and just participate in what they believed to be a miracle. What happened later that day made my sister's change bleak and insignifficant in comparison. Over twenty people of those who stayed in the church changed on that day, and a few days later father Jeremy was reassigned to Vatican, and later became a member of the Sylvestrian order. Sylvia managed to cope with the change, and became quite popular among our congregation. She managed to make it through the University, though it wasn't easy for an ork girl in this country. We had a lot of trouble with people who hated us for accepting her change, but we always had support from other church-goers, and our new young and idealistic priest. In the end, we were good."
- Marek Nowocki, 67 years old


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