Sunday, September 11, 2011

A few thoughts on 9/11

So much has been said and will be said today, I wasn't going to write a thing.

And yet, here I am.

The names are being read aloud as I read this over, and I am reminded that my small slice of sadness is nothing compared to those directly affected. But it happened to us all in some way, so here is what I have to say.

New York is my home town. I've spent my adult life in Massachusetts, but when people ask me where I'm from, I often say, "I'm from New York but, but I live in Massachusetts."  I love it here too, yet the connection isn't the same. My parents are gone, but I still have relatives and friends in "the old country,"  and I continue to go back as much as I can.

Like many others on Sept. 11, 2001, I watched it on TV. Then I raced to the newspaper. The place was buzzing with activity in efforts to put out a special edition for the next day. Everyone had at least one job. I had two.

My official job was trying to track down Jane Garvey, who lives in Amherst (in our circulation area) and
was then director of the Federal Aviation Administration.

My other job was frantically trying to find out the whereabouts of my parents, both lifelong New Yorkers then in their 80s, who had gone out innocently that morning to doctors' appointments.

 Garvey was in Washington, D.C., and couldn't be reached, but I did talk to her husband, Hampshire County Sheriff Richard Garvey, who said he had spoken to his wife and she was in a safe place. I honestly can't remember what else he said, but I did get a quote that I sent to the city desk to be included in a "wrap" for the next day.

I couldn't get ahold of my parents, but I did hear from Bruce, my cousin Jeanne's husband, from their apartment in New York. He said that my parents had managed to get back home. I can still hear his words: "We are OK. Our city is not."

My father died five months later of a brain tumor. I was so sad that this was one of his last memories of  New York. My mother lived another five years, and at least she got to see the city rebuild.

Life went on, and the city regained its vibrancy, but of course it was never the same.

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