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?"