And what momentous occasion was I driving to while terrorists ruled the skies and lives were lost? Would you believe a Weight Watchers meeting in nearby Yonkers, NY? Ironically, we of Team Bartilucci had already been preparing to move to northeastern Pennsylvania, since the PR firm where my husband Vinnie worked at the time had decided to move to his boss’s town, Bethlehem, PA. In fact, Vin was already working at the PA office. I managed to get ahold of him on the phone before the lines went dead for hours, telling him, “Believe me, you are so glad you’re not working in the city today!” Hell, under the circumstances, I was glad he wasn’t in the city as well! Unsurprisingly, our Weight Watchers meeting was cut short. We talked, all right, but it sure as hell had nothing to do with losing weight. Our WW branch was at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, just a fifteen-minute drive from our apartment house. As I passed the shopping center’s plate-glass storefronts, I saw people watching TV in shock, all of us making stunned, sad eye contact with each other.
|The waterfall aspect of the 9-11 Memorial|
Our buddy Jason still remembers what a gorgeous, sunny fall day it was. When we caught up with him, he said, in sad amazement, “It’s a perfect fall day! How could this happen on such a beautiful day?” Cabs had become hard to find, especially with people getting enraged at every swarthy person they came across. Jason found himself walking across Manhattan, shocked and dismayed as he passed scores of stunned people coated with the ashes of the dead. On top of that, our daughter Siobhan, then five years old and diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, attended her first day in the Inclusion Class at the Bronx elementary school she was attending at the time—a proud, triumphant day that turned scary and tragic once news of the terrorist attacks broke. After leaving WW, I drove straight to Siobhan’s school to see if it was closing early. I was the very first parent there. I’d barely begun signing the early dismissal form when the doors flew open and a swarm of panicky parents raced inside! Luckily, Siobhan was so young she was more bewildered than full-tilt scared of the hubbub. Now that she’s 14 (15 in October), she's grasping that the tragic events of 9/11/2001 were/are more than just another lesson in her History class at school.
|The names of the people who died on that terrible day.|
|The 9/11 Memorial, unveiled in 2011|
|The 9/11 Tribute in Light|