For me that moment came in the fourth grade while learning about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. I was raised by my grandparents and great-grandmother and so I heard these stories all the time. One of my uncles had attended a one room school house and told me about taking his rifle to school with him. All of the guns would be stacked against the wall and when school was over the boys would hunt for rabbits or squirrels; if they didn't hunt they didn't eat. Though I was familiar with these personal stories it was hard for me to translate them into what happened on a national or international scale and I just couldn't quite animate the picutres and words in my history book into living people.
We talked briefly in fourth grade history about artistic works about the Great Depression, specifically "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie's music. We all knew "This Land Is Your Land," of course, but it was still something written by a dead guy. There was a photo of him singing in my book, carefully cropped so you could see the neck of his guitar but not the body. The legend "This Machine Kills Fascists" might be a little much for a bunch of nine and ten year olds, you see.
Around this time there was a television show about Woodstock that I watched with my dad. There was some nasally guy singing "Amazing Grace" mostly off-key. My dad told me it was Arlo Guthrie. "Is he related to Woody Guthrie?" I asked. "He's his son." Connection made. I don't know what made it but suddenly I could imagine Abraham Lincoln moving. Thanks, Arlo.