"" Writer's Wanderings: Ground Zero

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ground Zero

I remember where I was when it happened, do you? I was sitting at my sewing machine and listening to Good Morning America (I wasn't a Today fan yet) and the phone rang. It was the secretary from our church asking about some activity I was involved with. As she talked, I watched the bulletin interrupt the programming and Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson's anxious faces as they began to relay the news--a jet had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.

"Oh, my gosh!" I exclaimed and repeated what I'd just heard to the secretary. We finished our conversation and after I hung up, I continued to watch as the news unfolded and the second jet hit the second tower. Then it became frightening. This was no accident.

I had planned to take our son, Don, shopping for furniture for his first venture into the world of independent living. This was a big deal for a young man with Don's mental handicaps. I didn't want to disappoint him. We started out and found that every store we went to was practically deserted. Employees were gathered around TVs whenever they were available or just huddled together under a speaker that was piping in the news as the morning progressed. I wanted desperately to know what was happening but I didn't want to frighten Don either.

Don and I quickly found what he needed and then headed for a pizza shop for lunch. I sat where I could see their TV and let Don ramble on in his excitement, nodding my head as if I were listening, but keeping an eye on the events unfolding on the TV screen. A shot of the first tower collapsing was shown. I gasped. It made Don turn and look. Fortunately, he didn't understand the full impact. It was just another disaster or maybe a building being imploded.

This was unreal. Suddenly, life was uncertain. I wondered if I was going to be able to let him go out on his own. For that matter, the mother in me wanted to gather all my "chicks" together and make sure they were safe.

When we went home, I began making phone calls. Where were the rest of my boys? Were they safe?

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