Monday, September 10, 2007

Where were you six years ago?

Sept. 11, 2001--It was a clear, crisp perfect autumn morning. I was sweeping my kitchen floor while my 2 1/2 year old watched Elmo and my seven-month-old napped.

The phone rang. It was my husband. "Turn on the news," he said, with an unusual clearness in his voice. I switched it on and couldn't believe what I was seeing.

I remember thinking the world was ending. What was going to happen to us? And, at the same time, it was still such a beautiful day.

Phone calls started coming. No one seemed to know what to do. I kept flipping the channels. Soon Elmo was off and newscoverage was the only thing to watch.

A delivery man came to our door. He seemed almost embarassed to be bringing me my drycleaning. It felt strange to be doing ordinary tasks. He was the first person I actually saw after hearing about the World Trade Center. I thanked him and then said, "It's just such a sad, sad day." He nodded and left.

Fortunately, my children needed clean diapers, lunch and stories. The routine of housekeeping kept me focused. My brother, stranded in our city, called and asked if he could stay. I busied myself getting the guest room ready and made chicken salad for dinner. It felt good to scrub the guest bathroom and fold clean towels.

Although I didn't often notice the airplanes flying overhead, I did notice their absence that day. The whole world felt so quiet. Everything felt bigger and smaller at the same time.

Six years seems a lifetime ago. My world certainly did not end that day. Those two little babies have grown up, been to Disneyland, seen the Pentagon and Ground Zero, and become older siblings to two more.

The kitchen floor I swept belongs to someone else now and no one watches Elmo any longer.

10 comments:

Dancin Queen said...

I was teaching school (7th grade) and one of my kids came running in and said, "An airplane just hit the pentagon. What's the pentagon?" Isn't it interesting that everyone remembers where they were when they heard about the news?

Marty: said...

It was one of those days that "live in infamy." I remember having to deliver some papers to an office that afternoon and it seemed like the streets were deserted. The lady in the office was watching the news coverage and said everyone else had gone home. It was surreal.

Celia Fae said...

My husband was unemployed at the time and we spent the day together with our three kids. I was grateful for unemployment. All of the tragedy made us hungry for Mexican. The restaurant was full, so obviously others choose bean burritos in times of sadness.

Mique said...

My dh and I were asleep when we got a phone call from his dad. He told Josh what had happened but both of us were sleepy and didn't know if it was a bad dream or for reals. My oldest was about 1 1/2 and I remember feeling really afraid. I didn't want Josh to go to work that day. It was all very surreal.

Rochelleht said...

Great thread! It really was an awful day, huh?

I was preggers (later lost the babe) so very emotional. I went outside with the kids to wait for the bus. When it came, I went back in with Jane and the tv was blaring with it. It had happened while we waited outside. I watched as it unfolded. The next plane, then the pantagon and then the towers fell. I remember calling my dad in hysterics. It felt like the world was coming to an end.

My dh worked in Houston at the time, but luckily didn't fly, so he drove home the next day.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

I always think of you guys when I think of this. I don't know what Josh would have done if you hadn't been there to put him up and keep him for days and days. That was such a surreal few months following, no? I posted on my blog where I was. I really liked this idea.

lainakay said...

My memories are so similar to yours. We were watching Sesame Street when my husband called and told me to switch to the news. It felt like the air was sucked out of the room. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I remember making beds and watching the news in my bedroom while my two-year old watched videos downstairs. I remember talking tearfully with my sister-in-law about what might happen next... what to do?!

Such a scary day and scary days to follow. Would there be more? When? Where? What was safe? We lit candles on porches, flew our flags non-stop and took deep breaths before turning on the news.

I got a lump in my throat this morning when I realized what day it was. The past few years since 9/11 have been so harried that I barely noticed when an anniversary passed. I wasn't sure how to commemorate it for myself this year. Your post was just what I needed today.

Sorry for the looong comment!

mama jo said...

i had just gotten home from walking when i read it on the internet...i thought it was a joke until my friend called...it was awful...the next day we found out that my mother in law's son was killed in one of the towers..they were in ireland and couldn't get home...it was a nightmare for them...

Amber said...

I just hopped over here from Stie's place. Six years ago, I was living and working in Salt Lake City. I watched the news on my way out the door and saw the first plane crash. It wasn't until I arrived at work to find everyone glued around the TV after the second plane had crashed that I realized the magnitude of it all. Little did we all know just how much the world would change....

Annie said...

wow. great post & thanks for the chance to read through others' experiences. I think I'll post to my blog the full memory, but we were living in DC, my husband working in the city. It was a rough day of uncertainty--he worked a block or so from the White House and heard all sorts of rumors as he tried to come home (ended up walking most of it). One of his friends from work was on the plane that went into the Pentagon. I thought I had protected my kids from absorbing too much of the news but when I took my kindergartner daughter to the grocery store that evening, she said "There's nobody here shopping. Did they all get killed today, mom?"

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