Daily Archives: September 10, 2011

T is for Ten Years

when did they change the back of the penny?

This evening, after a day of errands and a lobster roll dinner, we parked our truck in front of our home and saw a pair of teva-sandaled feet pointing toward the fence, the body hidden by the hedge, next to our wooden gate. Someone was peering into our yard. Strange, especially on our very quiet street.

I stepped out of the truck as I called, “Can I HELP you?” to see a small eight year old child come out from behind the bushes. Followed by a gangly eleven year old girl. Followed by a middle aged woman with a white cane who I recognized as the previous owner of our house.

She, the previous owner, whom I will nickname “Jill,”[1] pops by every now and then (though I haven’t spotted her in a couple of years) to visit her old home. I’ve found her unapologetically wandering our backyard over the years, full of regrets (and boundary issues), holding a small girl’s hand and then a few years later, an additional younger boy’s hand.

I wondered what it was that brought Jill to the house today–and then it became crystal clear: that tomorrow is 9/11, the tenth anniversary of the day that terrorists hijacked commercial planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon…and let’s not forget the plane that, thanks to its passengers, crashed into a field instead of the White House/Camp David/?.

The WTC buildings fell–they exploded, they crumbled, they melted, they pancaked, they flattened, they imploded. And along with them, thousands of innocents. And all day, all I could do, as I sat a nation’s width away from Manhattan, was watch the television, and write blog updates on my blog. [2]

9/11 was the day that escrow on this house was supposed to close (and didn’t, because the banks all closed, because our world as we knew it, was falling apart, and things would never ever be the same again). Our escrow actually closed unceremoniously a couple of days later, when the banks reopened.

And so Jill roamed, a decade later, the grounds of her previous and our current home with her children in tow on the anniversary of the day this house changed hands. “I should have never sold this house,” she said.

We briefly updated Jill–and she, us with news of her divorce, a new home, her children’s names. I told Jill we’d painted her muraled nursery room, the very one she and her husband-at-the-time had so cherished and that we’d promised to preserve–that well, we had wanted to have children when we bought the place, but heartbroken, we painted the colorful nursery room a very adult light green and turned it officially, into an office.

What a difference a decade makes. [3]

[1] Her name is not really Jill.

[2] I deleted my old blog, but as we all know, nothing on the internet is ever truly deleted, especially with things like the web archive site. So, if you care to read it, my blog post from 9/11/2011 is here.

[3] I thought about doing a blog post exclusively about 9/11, but I couldn’t bear to–I’ve thought about, and lived it, everyday for the last ten years. I’ve never forgotten, will never forget, and do not need reminding. And there are so many wonderful memorial posts, like Meg Cabot’s brilliant and tear inducing recollection of her NYC 9/11 or Steve Almond’s amazing Rumpus essay on the decade following 9/11 that make me feel like others speak with much more eloquence about this dreadful anniversary.


Joining Heather’s Abecedary, Fog City Writer, and other writers in working through the alphabet with short, memoir-like pieces. Except I’m going to go in reverse, beginning with “Z.” It’s called Alphabet: A History.


Filed under Alphabet: A History, Life, Memes