Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hie to the Post

The past couple of days have been really interesting.  I had my first day of training at that new job.  This morning I quit.  It wasn't because I had to talk on the phone or ask people for money.  It's because I had to lie to them, and to make people in a very dark place already feel even worse.  I can't do that to people, not for a million dollars.  Then last night was a surprise party for my sister.  It was so great to have family together laughing and eating and having a good time on a day that wasn't Sunday.

Today was a little rough, despite feeling better that I'd quit.  I am bored again, and I hate being bored.  My cat keeps attacking me.  There's nothing to do or clean or organize.  I went to lunch with my sister and spent some time haunting the museum where I used to work.  And now I'm eating cookies.

I read a post that my sister-in-law wrote about her September 11th story.  It was interesting to read her perspective as an east-coast transplant to Texas.  It got me thinking about things though.  And since I've been wanting to write down an "in retrospect" post for a while, I figured I'd do it today.  One thing I want to say, though, is that as you read this, I know you'll be thinking about your own story.  That story is just as interesting to me.  I want to hear it.  Because everyone's experience, unless you were literally under a rock, is important, and adds to the fabric of emotion that was that day (too prosaic?).  Anyway, the point is, think about it, because at the end I want you to share yours with me.  Do it in the comments, post on your own blog, email it to me, I don't care.  I want to hear it.  And here we go:
Tell your kids to keep a journal, seriously.
I was in 7th grade on September 11, 2001.  I remember what I wore to school that day.  Khaki overall shorts, if you're wondering.  That morning, my parents had the TV on during breakfast, which never happened.  My dad watched the news before we got up and then that was it.  Not only was it on, but my mom was watching it, which never happened in the morning.  My sisters went off to seminary.  Later on, my mom told me she'd be taking me to school, which normally my dad did.  We picked up my older sisters from seminary and once all four of us kids were in the car, my mom told us that an airplane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC.  It was suspected it was a terrorist attack.  She wasn't sure about the status of the other tower, but she thought she'd heard it'd been hit too.  We went to school.

In every class I went to, the TVs were on.  We did nothing in any of our classes.  The teachers just sat and watched the news, as mesmerized as we were.  We watched the towers fall over and over.  At lunch my friends and I speculated.

"It's a terrorist attack.  And we're next."

"Why would we be next?  You're crazy.  What are they going to do, bomb the avocado groves?"

"No, stupid, Fallbrook is practically on Camp Pendleton, and that's like the biggest marine base on the west coast." [side note: is it?]

And on and on.

In band, one of my friends (actually just an acquaintance at this point, but I still remember it vividly, and she later became one of my very best friends) was pulled out to go home.  She had family in New Jersey that worked in New York and hadn't heard either way about their safety.  In my next class, another girl got pulled out, told something, and burst into sobs right there in front of the classroom windows.

Finally school ended and we went home.  We were allowed to watch TV for the rest of the day.  I remember the CNN newscaster looked scared.  He was disheveled and had the hiccups.  There was a stack of papers and a bottle of Tums next to him.  They showed recap footage all night, including people jumping out of the buildings.  Those particular images scared me the most.

I don't think I had ever felt more grown up as a 12-year-old than I did that day.  I wrote in my journal how tragic and awful it all was, but I may not have entirely understood everything that it meant.  It meant that people would lose members of their family in our town for a while as hordes of troops were shipped to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, everywhere; for years to come.  Test bombings would shake our windows far more often than they had before.  No one would be allowed on base without military ID.  Travel by plane would become far more difficult.  The news would be on far more often in our house, in peoples' cars, and I would start to pay attention.  For me, September 11th was a realization that there was a huge, enormous, and scary world beyond the hills of Fallbrook, and it was brought right there to me, and I had to learn to deal with it.


PS I just got a phone call from the Prophet Manasseh Jordan, telling me he knew how hard times were but that I could find salvation in God.  I feel so blessed now.


Caity and Bradley Cummings said...

where can i get a phone call from that guy??? sounds awesome.

LP said...

Excellent piece. When Dad told me the WTC had been hit by airplanes and then collapsed, I wouldn't believe him. (He has been known to hyperbolize.) Then I saw it on the news. The rest you know.

It's interesting how there are certain events that get fixed in your memory that way, like the Challenger explosion (which I remember), JFK's assassination (which I remember, Pearl Harbor. I wonder if people had those kind of "I'll remember this forever, where I was when I heard and even what I was wearing" reactions before radio.