I remember the day vividly. Every part of it. I was five months pregnant with Drew and went to work as usual that morning. I was teaching First Grade at a Catholic school at the time. DJ went to preschool at the same school. We got into the car and drove the two miles to Our Lady of Lourdes School. I remember talking to him about the remarkable sky. It was so blue, so clear, so beautiful. Just a few fluffy white clouds but otherwise a stunning shade of blue. We call that kind of sky a “Simpson’s Sky,” (In every episode of The Simpson’s cartoon, they show they sky…that is just what it looked like.)
I even remember what I was wearing. Coral, maternity capri pants with a white flowy maternity top. I loved that outfit! It was so comfortable. I don’t think I wore it again though, because it kept making me remember that day. Around nine am that morning there was an announcement over the loud speaker for everyone to stop what we were doing and offer a moment of silence and quiet prayer, (Catholic School…) Not knowing what was going on, I immediately thought that something had happened to our principal’s mom. I knew that she had been ill. A few minutes later, I got another message over the loud speaker to calling me to the office for a phone call. I told them I could not take the call because I had my students with me. Our secretary said she’d send someone to cover my class immediately. That is when I assumed something had happened to someone in my own family.
I ran down the hall to the office and picked up the office phone. It was Dave. He told me, “I’m okay.” I still had no idea of what had happened so I was completely confused why he needed to tell me this. He started speaking so fast, I could barely understand him. He said that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. He said that The New York Stock Exchange, where he was working, was possibly going to go on lock down because no one knew what was happening. He said he would get home when he could. I was shocked, but still hadn’t seen any images so I did not know the magnitude of what was going on.
We sheltered the children from any television coverage, but a tv was set up in a room for the teachers to witness what was going on. It was horrifying. Parents were coming all morning to pick up their students. As more and more children went home, teachers who lived far from the school left as well. I lived less so close to the school that I stayed to help with dismissal. Everything seemed so surreal.
When I got home I called my best friend Kelly. I made sure she was okay. I know that she had an appointment in the city that day, but fortunately she had not made it in to NY – otherwise she’d have been going right through that area. She came over to my house and we called it “home base,” as we waited for phone calls from friends who worked in the city so that we would know that they were all safe. More friends came over that day and we all just stayed together watching the news coverage, transfixed to the television.
It took Dave hours to get home. He was able to catch a ferry out of NYC and then had to walk from Jersey City to Hoboken to catch a train west where he got off in Newark, walked to Harrison before getting to his car and finally being able to drive home.
At the end of the night we had been able to account for all but one of our friends that we knew may have been in the area or in either of the towers. Tommy, one of the friends that Dave and his buddies went to school with, worked with Cantor Fitzgerald and was one of the casualties although I don’t remember finding this out that day.
So many incredible lives were lost that dreadful day. It is a day that I will never forget. A day that has changed us all.