You know what happened twelve years ago this week?
I was twenty-eight and I started a new job, my first “full-time, with benefits” job for the State. I became a third generation State Employee. I carpooled in to work with my brother who worked on The Hill and listened to Dave Ramsey on our way home each evening. I was living with my mother & her third husband, who took my kids to school or daycare for me every other day. My kids were 8 and 5 at the time. My ex-husband and I had been divorced only a year and a few months. I was still working a part-time job at a craft store as well. As a mother my life was never-ending running around. It was the year that I decided I was going to be the best darn Mom I could be… coming from me – someone who didn’t want kids it was a grand achievement and realization.
Something else happened that day. It was a typical Tuesday, so I thought. Except I was surprised to be going to a training session at the Archive building next door. That’s where I was when I heard the news. In an elevator with people I didn’t know and didn’t much care for, finding out that the capital complex was being evacuated. I had the truck that day, my brother’s and I tried to contact him, without much success. All lines were in use. Busy signal or an error message is all I heard coming from my cell phone. Finally I got a hold of him and my ex. The decision was made to go home and continue as “normal” so the kids didn’t freak out. I’d pick them up at the usual time. I sat in the living room of the house I grew up in as a teenager and watched as the world changed forever. And when I couldn’t take watching the same images over and over again, I shut it off and drove to get my kids. I hugged them so tightly that night. It made me grateful to live in a rural area, but the fear didn’t leave. Threats of more violence towards the shipyard or the military bases loomed. I don’t recall if we had work or school the next day. It was the day that changed our lives.
What was happening twelve years before that?
I was fifteen with the typical teenage drama going on around me. I was less likely to participate in it, but enjoyed the show. I have journals and photos dating back further, my transition in to high school was typical as I look back on it. In August I traveled to New Jersey with my Dad, Step-mom, & the whole extended family. We stayed their friends Dan & Ellen’s house in NJ. I don’t recall where, but it wasn’t too far from NYC. The girls got a whole mini camper to themselves. The guys had the basement living room. We went to a beach one day and to NYC another day. We rode the subway, went to Battery Park, to the Statue of Liberty, The World Trade Center, the UN, and Rockefeller Center. We people watched, walked by Sharper Image store & almost weren’t allowed in, we gawked at the tall buildings and beautiful chapels.
However… This week I’m only thinking back to one place, The World Trade Center. We rode the “fastest” elevator in the world to the top of the tower, the observation deck. Nothing but glass windows all around, looking out in every direction, looking down on the world. Some of us were more daring than others and stood as close to the glass window as possible to look as straight down as we could. Others couldn’t go near the windows. We went out on to the open air deck at the top, which had enough of a safety space between the edge & the deck that there was no fear of falling, but you couldn’t look straight down. There was a bit of sway to the tower, more noticeable here. The following pictures are from our trip in August of 1989. I’ll add more pictures as I find them. I know I have several from the top looking out of NYC. I still wish I had much more though.
I was blessed enough to have visited this tragic landmark as a teenager. Something my kids are too young to remember. Like the things I’m too young to remember… Nixon resigning & the American hostage release from Iran. I do remember the Challenger explosion, Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the first Gulf War, the Berlin wall coming down, and the Maine State Employee’s shutdown/lockout from work all before I graduated high school. I wonder what my kids are going to remember looking back in 20 years.
What do you remember from 12 years ago? What about 24 years ago?