Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I thought I'd avoid this subject today, but my niece brought it up on her blog. Where were you, she asked. Here's what I told her.

I was home with Kelsey, who was two. Kayleigh and Eric had left for school. I wasn't doing much of anything when my mom called. She didn't even say hello.

"Are you watching television?" she demanded.


"Well, turn it on," she said. I had no idea if it was something good or bad. You just can't tell with her.

So I turned it on, wondering what would make my mother call me and tell me to watch TV. I watched as the plane went into the Pentagon.

"Wha--what's going on? Is this real?" I asked. It was quite a moment to flick on the tube.

"It surely is. There's more. Keep watching. Bye, honey."

So I watched in shock, disbelief, belief. I thought of Ben in D.C. and hoped he'd be OK, knowing he was pretty close to all that, and wondering if the White House was next.

Then I called Eric. He hadn't heard yet, either.

Explaining it all to Kayleigh that night was hard. She just didn't get it and wasn't especially interested. She was seven at the time. I let her watch, though, if she wanted to. They had told the kids at school what happened. The teachers said later it was a very difficult day to be at work.

Things I remember: seeing someone fall out a window, legs flailing, body turning; thinking that the towers looked unstable and might collapse about a minute before the first one went down; seeing a gray, dust-covered face, just a face, amid the rubble--I've never seen video of that face again, but I'll never forget; wanting to go get Kayleigh from school and have Eric come home so we could just all be together.

Some time later I saw an episode of Mad TV that featured a send-up of that Jamaican call-in psychic. One of my favorite lines in sketch-comedy history: "Were you workin' September the tenth?"


laurie said...

wow, your niece looks like that actress who was in pretty woman. julia something.

i know that wasn't the point of your blog.

your mom sounds....blunt. a lot like mine.

Amy said...

I'll be sure to tell Sarah you said she looks like Julia Child.

My mom is blunt, but she's not harsh in any way. Still, kids are afraid of her when she's annoyed.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

When I saw that disgraceful act six years ago I also asked if it was real. As did, I am sure, millions of other people.

Crystal xx

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hey Amy, came to your blog via Swearing Mother. See you've been to my neck of the woods - Norfolk.

I was at work when we got a pho9ne call to get near a tv so stood in the street watching with horror. Still reply those scenes in my head and always shake my head in disbelief.

On a lighter note, an English tea is nothing without scones, jam and fresh cream. Yum!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I heard it on the radio after taking the kids to school. The DJ was crying. I came home and turned on CNN and didn't move all day.


Stepping Over the Junk said...

I cant wait to read your neices blog...(and I love yours)

Everyone has a story...my mother always said the same thing about Kennedy's death when she was a girl and they sent everyone home from school early...

I think when anything as unbelievable as this happens, we all feel alot of the same things, relate differently and are affected just as much.

It will be forever, that's for sure.

Amy said...

Crystal, what made it worse is that it was so easy. When I was a teen, I went to a political rally. Jesse Jackson was there. There was plenty of security, but he was just there, mingling, shaking hands, holding babies, as politicians do. I realized as a kid that if I'd wanted to, if I didn't care about what happened to myself, I could have killed him right there. There was no security screening to get into the thing--we just walked in. And there he was, in front of me. I reached out and touched his arm just to say I could. (He didn't shake my hand, I was back too far--but not too far to reach him.)

So, as surprising as it was, it was hardly a surprise, particularly given the American reputation in the world. And then the American political (and public, I'm ashamed to say) response--gack! It's appalling, and it will define America's domestic and global affairs for decades.

Manic mother, welcome! I'll have to make a proper English tea one of these days. If only tea included Curly Wurlys....

RC, I was glued to my chair, too. For days. I got sick of it, but I couldn't stay away. I felt so awful and scared.

SOTJ, my sister was home for lunch when Kennedy was killed. When she told people back at school, they didn't even believe her.