Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ellie's Corner: 9/11: I Remember

Ellie's Corner: 9/11: I Remember: I remember. I remember getting dressed for work. I was in the bathroom. The TV was on in the bedroom. I remember glancing over and seeing...

9/11: I Remember

I remember.
I remember getting dressed for work. I was in the bathroom. The TV was on in the bedroom. I remember glancing over and seeing Matt Lauer interviewing someone about an upcoming book. I remember the sound of my hair dryer, drowning out the audio. I remember noticing my husband putting on his shoes, then returning to the task of trying to do something with my hair.
I remember, out of the corner of my eye, seeing my husband look up, and go very still. I remember his words: “holy crap.”  I remember turning off the hair dryer and going into the bedroom, looking at the TV and asking, “What?”
I remember it all. Like it was yesterday. I remember the shock and the horror and the devastation. I remember standing motionless in front of the TV for I can’t even imagine how long, watching. Unable to look away. And the thoughts racing through my mind. The questions.
I remember finally pulling myself away, knowing I had to go to work. I remember being in my car, listening to live coverage. I remember when the south tower came down.
And each time I remember, I’m there again, on that day, that day that forever changed us all.
Last weekend I was watching a segment on ESPN about Welles Crowther, a young trader who worked on the 104th floor of the South Tower, a former Junior Firefighter who once played lacrosse and always carried a red bandana with him. It was a signature of his, so to speak, something begun many years before when he was a little boy, and his father gave him his first bandana. He was there that day. He was at work in the South Tower. After the first plane hit, he called his mom to tell her he was OK. Then, after the second plane hit, he turned into a fire fighter again, and started saving lives.
He also died.
But because of him, twelve people lived.
I sat there that Sunday, on the floor of my family room, watching the ESPN segment with tears streaming down my face. My daughter came in. She’s almost 8. She’s just starting to learn about that day. I’ve tried to explain it to her, and she gets that something very bad happened, but it’s still mostly abstract to her. That morning she saw me crying, I think for the very first time. Alarmed, she hurried over, wanting to know what was wrong. But I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t tell her because I couldn’t talk, because I knew if I tried, I would totally break down.  So instead I held up my hand, signaling for her to wait a second. Give me a minute. Let me breathe.
And in that moment, everything flashed, and suddenly it was me who was the little girl, finding my mother crying in front of the TV, and wanting to know why. It was she who lifted the hand, asking me to wait., while on the screen in front of us, grain, black-and-white footage played from ten years before, of a little boy standing in front of his casket, saluting his father for the last time.
That little boy was John-John. His father, of course, was JFK.
Moments both define and transform us. Life goes on. The dust of devastation settles, but the moments stay with us and make us who we are.
I remember.
I remember that day, I remember it all. And sometimes I live it all over again.
And I always will.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Dates

Do you remember your first date with that special someone, the one who made you feel all jittery inside?
Maybe you knew him pretty well, or maybe he was a virtual stranger. Maybe you’d talked a little, or maybe it was just those quick fleeting glances, where you look over at someone and then when they look back, you swing away and pretend you were doing something else.
(In the days before Caller ID, we all called the guy we were crushing on, then hung up as soon as someone answered. I have no idea why, but hearing their voice was thrilling. Their mom or dad’s voice…not so much.)
Anyway. Do you remember how you felt, how excited you were? Do you remember how much you thought about it, how much you wondered? What should you wear? What should you talk about? What would happen AFTER the movie? Would he really take you home—or would you go park behind the school?
So many what ifs. So many possibilities. I remember them well.
My husband and I worked for the same company. Everyone hung out together, but we dating was kind of a no-no. But whenever he looked at me, I felt that little rush skitter through me, and yeah, a lot of times I looked away.
Then he asked me out.
We were just going to dinner. Friends, you know. At The Olive Garden. We were both new to town. I was coming out of a crash-and-burn relationship, and I didn’t especially want to get involved again.
But still I spent huge amounts of time and energy making sure everything was just so: the right outfit, the right hair, the right makeup. Then I started thinking about what we would talk about: he was a Big City boy and I was somewhat of a Small Town girl, and I really, really wanted our first evening together to be perfect.
I mean, think about it…  In that one moment when you put your hand to the door and prepare to pull it open for the first time, the slate is blank, the canvas is clean, the opportunity is endless. It’s unbelievably exciting—and more than a little daunting.
Okay, so at this point, if you’re still with me, you’re probably wondering where the heck am I going with all this?
I’ll tell you.
Right now, right this very moment, we’re on a first date: my first blog post. Ever. And just like that night with my future husband, I’ve given a great deal of thought about where to start. I’ve always been one of those quiet girls, pretty much not talking until someone talks to me. I like to listen. I like to observe. I like to let others go first.
But that doesn’t work so well with blogging J
So I’ve made lists. I’ve jotted notes everywhere of all the things I’d like to talk about: Dreams and Destiny and Psychic Phenomenon, Taking Chances, The Power of Words and the 7 Deadly Pitfalls of …Something.  And Dr. Seuss. And baseball and what we can learn from those classic but simple words: Sometimes you win, Sometimes you lose, And sometimes it rains. And of course, I wouldn’t be me without gushing about JJ Abrams and how lost I am without LOST, how Dave Matthew rocks my world and how, slowly, FRINGE is helping to heal my broken heart.  Oh, yeah, probably a little about how Trinity, my sixteen-year-old psychic protagonist, came to be.
But that’s an awful lot for a first date.
So instead of rushing straight to all the good, fun, exciting stuff, it’s probably best if I start with the beginning,  and just open the door.
So here goes.
It’s awesome to be here.
Whatcha in the mood for? Dinner?  A movie?