Friday, September 11, 2009


Demetrios had gone to Charlottesville for a week of continuing education in forensic psychiatry. I had determined to take three days of that week off from housework while he was gone. I wouldn't cook, I wouldn't even get dressed. I'd just goof off.

My plan was set back a day because Daphne's father (and Ero's husband), Matthew, hadn't quite finished painting our downstairs. He finished up around mid-day on Monday.

Monday evening, I went to KFC and bought a whole bucket of extra-crispy chicken, with a pint each of three different sides. I hadn't eaten KFC in years and I had a craving for it. This would be my suppers and maybe lunches for the rest of the week.

Next day, a gorgeous day, I began my planned hibernation by sleeping in until 8:30 in the morning. I got up and prepared myself tea and orange juice and toast, same as every morning. Then I thought I'd just watch television while eating breakfast. We never watched TV in the morning, but today I would.

I tuned to CNN just as the first plane hit one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

It took about an hour for my hibernation to end. Nobody, that day, wanted to be alone. I curled and brushed my hair and got dressed and went next door.

Michaux opened her front door and I said, "What are you doing?"

"Just playing on the computer," she said.

"Well, you need to turn off the computer and turn on your television!"

Our jaws dropped open when the red headline came up on the screen: "America Under Attack!" We turned and stared at each other, open-mouthed.

We kept watching until we were weak from hunger. "I have just the thing!" I said, and we hurried over to my house to warm up the KFC on paper plates in the microwave, then back to her house to continue watching. (She wanted to be near her phone, as she had a sister in New York City.)

Once, Michaux looked over at me, quite suddenly, and said, "What's today's date?"

"September 21st, 2001."

"We'll never forget it, will we?"

We kept watching until her children came home, one by one, each on a different school bus. I don't remember what the oldest said, except that he didn't know what had happened. The middle boy said, "Mom, soccer practice is cancelled tonight."

"Do you know why?" asked Michaux.

He didn't.

Then little Laura came home, and her mother explained to her. Laura had two questions:

"Are they going to attack Richmond?"

"No, dear, I don't think so."

"Where's New York from here? Is it far, far away?"

* * *

Demetrios phoned that evening, and addition to everything else, he was worried about his brain. "My love, today I have realized there is something wrong with it," he said.

"What seems to be wrong with your brain, my sweet?"

"Well, I don't know. But I have watched those videos of the Twin Towers over and over again, and no matter how many times I watch them, my mind still refuses to believe what it sees."

* * *

Mom was approaching the commissary at Fort Myer, adjacent to the Pentagon, when she heard on the radio that the Pentagon had been hit. "They'll never let me in the gate today," she decided. She crossed the bridge over the Potomac and then turned around to come home.

* * *

Dad was getting his excercise by walking the whole way around Lake Accotink, where he met a crazy woman who told him some deluded tale about the Word Trade Center having collapsed. He got away from her as quickly as courtesy permitted.

* * *

One of Sylvia's daughters was in a business meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the basement of some office building. The meeting began at 8:00 and went until noon, when the participants decided to eat lunch together at a favorite restaurant.

They found it closed.

That's when they paid attention to another oddity: the city streets were deserted. At noon. On a Tuesday.

They began to have apprehensive feelings. They looked at one another and wondered, has the whole world changed, or something, while we were gone?


Emily H. said...

I was working at Meijer in Fort Wayne, Indiana that day when I got a phone call from my mom - she never called me at work so there had to be something terribly amiss. I could hardly believe what she said was on the news. Throughout the day we got more news about what was happening from the customers but it was such a slow day at the store; hardly anybody was out shopping. Those that did come in were shocked and worried.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I hope others will also post their memories of that day.

Kyrie, eleison!

P.S. Emily, Meijer -- ?? Seems to me that's a grocery store chain up there, isn't it?

Emily H. said...

Re: P.S. Meijer is the local competition for Wal-Mart. It's family owned, started in Michigan. I worked at Meijer as a cashier while Ben was going to Seminary.

It's sort of nice to look back and see how our lives, not yet intersected, were impacted and where our lives led from there. And how glad I am that there were Orthodox saints to lift up their prayers at such a time in our country's recent history!

Anonymous said...

I, too, was at work, at Michaels in Minnesota. I had gone in early that morning to work on a special set up of new products. So I had no idea anything was wrong until a fellow employee came and asked me how I could be so cold as to keep working and not come and be with people? I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she told me. I was in shock. I had gotton a phone message from my mom the night before, telling me dad was on the east coast for work. One of his suppliers had offices in the World Trade Center (North Tower, lower floor 6 or 7 I think). I started trying to call both mom or dad right away. No answer, all lines busy. It wasn't until about 2 that afternoon that I found out dad was in New Hampshire. Thankfully all of his suppliers people made it out safely. As no planes were flying, he decided to drive back to their home in Illinois. But he couldn't find a map and phone and data lines in the northeast were spotty at best. So he called me at home that night for directions from New Hampshire to Chicago staying as far away as possible from Boston and New York. It was slow at our store too. We had a tv in the back room and we'd take turns being back there and watching and just being with each other.


Rosko said...

I heard the news upon entering my 2nd hour French Class. A friend said "Harry, did you hear? We're going to war with China!". Obviously, he had heard of the attack, but no one knew details yet. Slowly the details came out, many classes were cancelled, and when I went to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts|Riverfront for my afternoon classes, I was sent home to 'spend time with your family and reflect on the events, we don't know how far this will reach'.

The next year, I enrolled at Marion Military Institute for my last 2 years of high school with hopes of joining the Navy. Health problems kept me from it, but I still support all of those who are in service to our country, and pray that the events of that day never repeat themselves except in our memories.