New York City, Sept 13th - Safe but unsettled
Well we made it out of New York just before the storm. Monday afternoon we were all happily strolling through the streets of Lower Manhattan. I was taking pictures of flat stanley and thelma (2 paper dolls my 5 year old and 7 year old neighbors gave me) to send back to Austin.
I was supposed to capture flat stanley and thelma in front of a landmark. I got a picture of them in front of the empire state building. If I would have turned just a few degrees I would have had a picture of them with the World Trade Center.
Sunday night I met with my cousin Daniel and his wife Sharissa. I walked with a friend to their house via Canal Street and down the West Side Highway. Daniel and Sharissa's house was literally a few blocks from the World Trade Center. Most of the CNN reporting I have seen was being shot in front of their apartment (the small white arched walkway crossing the west side highway). We had a wonderful dinner and afterwards I remember walking to the subway station and stopping to gaze up at the World Trade Center. It was such a lovely clear night and the two buildings shot straight towards the heavens towering above all the other buildings. I remember it so clearly. It was one of the highlights of my trip to New York.
We drove back to Maine Monday afternoon. Arrived late in the evening and awoke the next morning to the horrible scenes of the planes crashing into the sides of the world trade center.... I didn't realize how deeply the WTC attacks effected me until I got a call from Daniel's mother, Mameve. Mameve called to let us know that Daniel and Sharissa were ok. Daniel's gym was at the WTC center. Daniel had planned to go work out that morning but he had a sore throat and opted not to go. Daniel did, however, see the plane crash into the building and people jumping from the top of the WTC.
I am reminded of the time Molly and I stopped for cherries at the grocery store on the way to the lake. It was the 3rd of July and a beautiful day. We were driving in the convertible with the dogs. Molly heard that there was a sale on cherries so we stopped to pick some up. I waited in the car with the dogs while Molly ran into the grocery store. I remember her walking back to the car with the cherries in hand and off we went. We were excited about the weekend and spending time with Molly's family. Everything seemed to be going our way. On the way to the lake I was pondering how much I looked forward to the years ahead. 2 hours later Molly was basically dead.  Her head almost torn completely from her body.  An episode I couldn't have conjured up.
Walking past the World Trade Center sunday night had given me that same feeling of optimism that I had felt on the 3rd of July.  How my family and friends had all made such an earnest effort to be together.  How nice it was to touch base with everyone in New York. How magical New York City was at night and how exciting the world can be. Ironically, an event just as horrific as Molly's death and equally impossible to conjure up was to befall us all less than 36 hours later. I often think (wrongly or not) what would have happened if, on the 3rd of July, I didn't stop and get cherries. I'm not sure why I single that event out to contemplate life's would have could have should haves.....
My Travel Journal
Friday, September 14, 2001
So today I am caught asking myself: What if we stayed one more day, what if Daniel went to the gym, what if whoever planned that attack planned it for Monday instead of Tuesday. what if.... what if... what if.....
Amy just called me. She was crying hysterically. She had just found out that her good friend Barry was on the flight that crashed into the World Trade Center. (see picture to right). What if...
So I just want to say how grateful I am to have you all in my life. As I said at Molly's funeral, 'I want you to remember that even though our life's routines make us feel safe, they don't grant us immunity against life's tragedies.'
So remember to appreciate what you have and not to squander your time here....