My memories of 911.
- I thought it’s sort of April’s fool day
- There was no noise
- Something was different
- My reaction when I heard about it was disbelieve
- Real or not real?
- When the internet broke down on campus
- My unconciousness had noticed the lack of flight noise
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I thought it’s sort of April’s fool day
On the morning of September 9th 2001, I walked my tomcat in the yard of the house we had rented after a day-long house hunting after our arrival in Alaska in July.
It was a beautiful, calm (no wind) Indian summer day. The yellow leaves of the birch trees looked beautiful against the deep forest-green of the black spruce. The cranberry and raspberry bushes made nice red and purple accents. The gras on the forest floor was still green. The blue sky glimpsed thru the leaves here and there.
It was about 8 am and the temperature at the airport was about 39F (3.9oC). However, since the house was up in the hills, it was above the inversion. This means the temperature was actually higher than 39F. Moreover, the sunshine, low relative humidity and lack of wind gave the sensation of a comfortable temperature. Perfect for walking in a summer dress and a cardigan in the Sun on the huge property of our landlords.
There was no noise
… but the squirrels chatting and throwing cones down the huge black spruces, some finches twittering and the rushing of the little creek at the bottom of the valley. The air smelled like being saturated with a mix of rottening cranberries and mushrooms. Above me, the sky was steel blue except for some snow white high level cirrus (feathery ice clouds).
Something was different
I couldn’t nail it like you can’t nail the Je ne sais pas of a stylsih French woman. Our tomcat also behaved like something isn’t right. Thus, I thought that he had smelled a predetor and that I had the feeling because of his unrestful behavior. Thus, we returned into the house. I packed my bag and left for work.
My reaction when I heard about it was disbelieve
I enjoyed the music playing in the radio and the bumpy unpaved road that I was driving. While navigating around the potwholes the radio broadcasted that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. My first thought was “OMG! What went wrong with that plane?” I had flown out of La Guardia as well as J.F.K. airport a couple of times in my life. How could a plane starting from either of these airports crash into this skyscraper. Not to mention that there is a limited air space over each city. Planes are forbidden to fly below this height.
The music started playing again. Meanwhile I had reached Goldstream Road. This road is named after the little creek that like the road and the rail road winds thru the Goldstream Valley. This valley is mostly covered by permafrost except for the area of Ann’s Greenhouse. After a ten minutes drive or so, the speaker reported again about the crash. He later said that another aircraft hit the Pentagon and another one went down and crashed into the fields.
“What unrealistic scenarios” was my thought. “He probably had an over-dosis of the movie Independence Day.” I had watched that movie in the English original English version at the American Cinema, when we still lived in Garmisch Partenkirchen. It seemed eons ago. “This is so obvious that there must be something similar to April’s Fools Day in Germany.” The next thought was “I must be careful that they don’t play a joke on me today”. While walking thru the parking lot behind the Geophysical Institute I again had the feeling that something was wrong. However, I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me.
Real or not real?
I was waiting at the elevator when a colleague joined. He didn’t greet me back, but said “Isn’t that aweful? How can they hijack planes to crash them?” I didn’t say a word because I still doubted that it was reality. But at the same time doubt came up. “Shouldn’t he know it when today there is something like the April’s Fools Day in Germany.” I said “have a great day” when I left the elevator.
In my office, I called my husband and told him what I had heard in the radio. He hadn’t heard about it as he was working on a paper on his computer. He immediately pulled up the internet browser. On the first page, there was a movie of a plane flying straight into the World Trade Center. He was shocked! I was shocked when he told me. Meanwhile my PC was up and running. I pulled the page, saw the movie shortly before the internet broke down.
When the internet broke down on campus
Later that day, a student came to my office to pick up a homework assignment sheet. The students couldn’t download it from blackboard because the internet was too slow. “It’s probably because of the attacks” I said to the student. “What attacks?” “Didn’t you listen to the news today?” “No.” “Two planes went into the World Trade Center, one in the Pentagon and in a field.” “You are kidding. That’s from a movie I watched at the cinema when in middle school.”
In the afternoon, the employees of Geophysical Institute made a virgil on the campus of Alaska’s first University. We sang “God save America.” I again felt that something was wrong while being outside.
My unconciousness had noticed the lack of flight noise
On the evening when walking the cat again, I realized what had bothered me outside the entire day. There was no air traffic at all! After three days of no air traffic, all shelves were empty in the stores in town. You could only buy stuff that comes in bulk via the Alacn or by ship and then rail road or truck. Since then, I have the recommended six weeks of food supply in the pantry.
Do you have an emergency plan? Do you have a food reserve?
This fall business casual look has some thrift finds, the sandals and the dress, for instance. When I saw the dress I fell in love with the unusual print and color combination of red, orange, purple and black. So versatile to wear and just perfect for fall. It’s a nice jersey knit and the sleeves are short, but not too short. Thus, they hide the “bingo wings.” The shoes look like dance shoes. Somehow I love their comfort. I think it’s because the back of the shoe holds the foot in place. Thus, they are easier to walk in than sandals with heels that are open in the back except for a sling. What do you think?
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Photos of me: G. Kramm
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