I used to marvel at my parents and others who could recall; in such detail, where they were and what they were doing the day President Kennedy was assassinated. I used to wonder how anyone could remember that far back. My parents were in high school then and my Mom can remember what they were discussing in class that day; and so many other seemingly insignificant events, that it’s unreal.
I finally understood all too well how those seemingly insignificant events can be forever engraved on your memory when accompanied by events all too shattering and equally unreal.
The morning- actually the night before September 11th I recall vividly. The baby was asleep and mommy and daddy were zoning out in front of the TV watching Connie Chung interview Gary Condit- this was the biggest news during that time. Everyone wondered what happened to the intern Chandra Levy and the entire world; it seemed, was tuned in to hear Mr. Condit’s words. During a commercial, I remember telling Todd that this was really…interesting how everyone in the world cared so much about this. We returned to avidly watching the screen following the commercials.
The morning of September 11th began like any other. The guy; not quite a year old, was still asleep. Todd had to leave early that morning to help open a store in Tampa- we were living in Florida then. I was actually living my dream-sort of. I was a stay at home mom (not by choice I was just out of work then). Still, I was trying desperately to be a stay at home mom AND writer. Since I still had some quiet time, I got my coffee and settled in to get a little writing done before the baby woke. I remember that I put on my headphones in order to listen to my cassette radio-hmph…yep it took me a while to abandon my beloved cassettes. Before I turned on the music, I decided to see what the gang was talking about on The Tom Joyner Morning Show. I tuned in- the dead air made me check to be sure I had the right station. Just as I was about to move the dial I heard Tom’s voice-rather disjointed- not his usual chipper and funny self. He was very solemn and his voice had a hollow tone. It sounded like there was confusion about…something.
I turned on the TV, a thing I never did in the mornings. Not until the baby woke up anyway and then it was Telletubbies and Clifford The Big Red Dog…Hmph…memories… I want to say I turned to NBC because I seem to remember seeing Stone Phillips’ handsome face- now I can’t remember if it was him or not. I think that was because I was riveted on the screen from the monitor behind the him and his co-anchor showing one of the Twin Towers…on fire. I continued to watch. A plane was approaching and I screamed. I kept screaming as the plane slammed the second tower.
I know it goes against the Mommy Code to wake a sleeping baby, but that’s just what I did. I ran to the bedroom, got my son from his crib and just sat there squeezing him, rocking him, holding him and crying. He didn’t cry or fidget…he just watched me as though…I don’t know…he sensed that I was upset. The day continued to be a horrific one. I didn’t know whether to leave the house or stay. They reported on what happened in Washington and said something about President Bush being in Orlando where we lived…
I don’t think I turned away from the news all day. When Todd got home late that evening, we just hugged for the longest time filing away memories of a day we wished we could forget.
In Memory of September 11, 2001