Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

As I mentioned before, I stumbled across this great weekly writer's workshop over at Mama's Losin' It.

This week's choices are:

* A Thanksgiving to be remembered...
* Describe the most destructive thing your pet has done.
* Describe in 1000 words or less a time when something happened and you knew that life would never be the same.
* Share a diary entry from when you were 13...feel free to make one up!
* Describe a moment you felt embarrassed by your parents.

I absolutely have tons of diaries and journals from age 13. And up until just now I thought they were at my parents' house back in NY, but I actually think they're around here somewhere. Hmmmn. But since I can't think of exactly where they are in my home, I'm going to skip that entry (and maybe save it for another day!)

So I'm going to share an experience about something that showed me life would never be the same again. Hopefully I can keep it under 1000 words ...

As simple as life seemed, things would be forever changed on that morning of September 11th. Perhaps this is a cliched way of answering this, but having lived in NY and worked in NYC at the time, I think it's giving due diligence to the question.

September 11, 2001 was a clear, blue morning. I walked up from the Subway, crossed over to the McDonald's across the street and picked up one of their fruit and yogurt parfaits, and crossed back over towards my office. Firetrucks sped by. Sirens blared. I still had no clue.

Once in my office and settling in at my desk a colleague came over and said, 'A plane went into the World Trade Center.' We all rolled our eyes, remembering a week or two earlier when some genius had tried to parachute off the Statue of Liberty. Or something like that.

I tried logging onto CNN. Nothing. MSNBC? Nope. Yahoo! had no answers, but at least was up and running. I somehow managed to bring up IM to talk to my almost-husband. I spoke to my mom and told her we were okay. I was able to connect with a friend who worked further downtown. I called her sister to let her know she was alright, since nobody could reach her. I walked over to the CEO's office. Several people had gathered in there, as we had a view of the towers from that window. We watched, together, as the second tower fell. I looked around the room. A co-worker lost his son that morning. In that very tower.

I can still remember the shoes I was wearing. I can remember my closest friend, his wife calling his name as she approached our building, having walked from Battery Park. Chills. She was okay, she was here. I can still see them hugging. A friend and I started walking. We walked and walked. My feet hurt. People stopped and gathered around TV sets in store windows. People cried, walking through the streets. The city stood still, and yet moved in ways you could never imagine.

My husband walked over the 59th Street Bridge that day to get home. This walk, after watching that second plane fly by his office windows. Knowing, at that point, that this was no accident. So while he saw the plane headed in my direction, while talking to his friend who was in DC, I sat there trying to figure out what the heck was happening. With a few quick IMs I learned he had to leave his office. We're being evacuated, he wrote. What? Evacuated? My office was let out shortly after.

I can remember the exhaustion, emotion and pain I felt as I approached 53rd Street. Suddenly I heard the rumbling of the subway beneath my feet. Oh, thank G-d. I wasn't sure I'd make it home. I had already walked so many blocks. I was lucky, and squished onto a train heading towards Astoria. The passengers were numb. We all looked at one another, looked out the windows. Still not truly understanding what had just happened.

Once off the train I walked to my apartment. He was already home, waiting. We hugged, cried, zoned out completely. I can vividly remember crashing on my bed, staring out the window at the skyline that would be forever changed. I called my family, remember speaking to my sister-in-law, talking about how things would never be the same. Years later, as we became parents, we recognize that our girls will never know the city we knew. Never see that beautiful skyline. How horribly sad. How terribly scary. How quickly things would never be the same.


  1. OMG! I agree with you. It will never be the same. Although I'm out here in California, I get that eerie feeling. My mother-in-law actually called us at 6 something in the morning to tell us what happened and just as I woke up and saw on the news the second plane hit the tower, at first I thought "yeah, so" not putting it all together that this was real. Once I really woke up and realized what was going on, my stomach dropped. I went to work that morning and the boss brought in a TV for all of us to watch. That day was not very productive, I might add. There was a strange silence among everyone.
    Now that I have my daughter (who I was pregnant at the time with but didn't know yet), we tell her about that day.

  2. It was definitely a changing event. Friends and people I joked with just weeks before were missing. My patent attorney survived only because he stayed at home to work that morning - the rest of his office didn't.

    And watching the plane crash into the tower time after time while not being able to contact those we knew definitely made for a tense and anxious day.

  3. Wow, so intense.

    I think it changes our lives forever, but never so much as for the New Yorkers who experienced it....

  4. When my mother was on bedrest with me, she would look out her apartment window and see the towers. She sobbed the day they fell. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. I had just been to New York for the first time that year and I could not believe what I was seeing on TV. I was in shock. I thought it was a lie. Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined planes flying into buildings on purpose. The world stopped making sense.


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