Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today kind of snuck up on me. I knew it was coming. I saw it on the calendar. For some reason it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I was listening to the radio this morning and they were playing people's requests all morning. They played songs like Marvin Gaye's, 'What's going on?' and Elvis Costello's, 'What's so funny bout peace love and understanding', and things like that. I was overcome with emotion. Probably more so than that day. That day I was numb.

I am sure everyone has their moment. Where they were, what they were doing. It's like this generation's Kennedy Assassination, in the sense that time is frozen in that moment forever. I was teaching. It was second period. The attendance woman came in to collect the folder and said that she hear a plane attacked the World Trade Center. My immediate thought was that it was a small aircraft, one of those crop duster things. One of my students went into the hallway to look. I taught in a school on the border of Queens, very close to Kennedy Airport. You could see the towers from the school. He came back and reported that he saw a lot of black smoke in the sky and that the building was very clearly on fire.

I taught computer graphics, so we had computers in the room. I also have to say that I taught high school students. Had it been elementary students, none of this would have been discussed at this point. So we went on the Internet for more info. Internet was down. That was my first clue that this was bigger than a Cessna. We did our best to keep calm, and to comfort each other. Later on that week I told them all that we would forever be cemented in our memories. I told them that when they were older, retelling their story to whomever, they would talk about being in Miss C's Media Arts Class when it happened. The bell rang and we were all off and running.

I had a prep period so I went in search of a t.v. I found one in the gym teacher's office. Crowded around the set with a group of my co workers we watched it all unfold. It was just too horrible to watch, yet we watched it. I really thought the world was ending. And if the world was ending, that place was the LAST place I wanted to be. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be with my husband (who wasn't my husband yet).

The phones were down so we couldn't even talk to our loved ones. Then we heard the fighter jets overhead. I didn't know whether to feel safer or more terrified. We had to go on with our day and try and maintain a sense of calm. Those were the orders from administration. It was just too hard to pretend that it was all OK, and I think the kids new that, but they did not want or need to see their teachers freaking out. We all did the best we could that day. Unfortunately every time the bell rang, the students walked in the hallway and could plainly see the black cloud of smoke that would linger for months after that day.

My husband was on a job interview. Can you believe they still went on with it? I think it was at like 9:30 in the morning, in the height of all the mayhem. He didn't' take that job. He had my car so if I wanted to leave I couldn't. We listened to am radio the whole day trying to get information. Of course there really wasn't much at that point. I really hate am radio. I think the frequency does something to my insides, and especially on that day, it was awful.

I finally got to go home and while it was the end of a horrible day, it certainly wasn't the end. The smoke lasted forever. The supermarkets had pictures up of people still missing. I also think it was the birth of CNN overdrive with all the bands of words moving across the bottom of the screen, information overload. It was 24/7 Osama Bin Laden. American Flags. Hatred of anyone wearing a turban. Insanity.

My husband went to work cleaning up the area around Battery Park. His friend had a restoration company and he took a temporary job with them. He saw lots of destruction. He also came back with bronchial asthma. For quite a long time after bubs was dx with pdd-nos, I often blame the toxic mess he inhaled on a daily basis.

I was totally numb that day, and I think as each year passes, it seems to hurt me more. I wasn't a mom when it happened. Being a mother really changes the way you see things.

I have the tv on. For the 6th year in a row, I am listening to them read the names of the people that perished. I am so thankful for all that I have. I am so sad for the people that lost their loved ones. I am also very sad for us as a species today.


FarmGirl said...

I cannot imagine being that close...I had just moved out of Manhattan 3 yrs earlier, and I still find it so hard to believe this took place. I am sending you a big cyber hug today. God Bless

~Momster said...

I have chills and tears for you. You were so close. How scary.

And what a task you had, with all of those students in your care.