September 12, 2011

September 11th Remembered


It was the fall of 2001 and Bossy was a handful of months from graduating from Temple University with a degree in writing she would later squander in order to start a blog. Bossy was already in her mid-thirties.

At home Bossy had two young kids and one young husband:


It was a happy time for the Bossy family, much of it owing to these two:


Meet Bossy’s Brits, Karen and Gary. They were from Manchester England living next door to the Bossy family for two years because Gary, who was in the Royal Air Force, had been posted to the Boeing Company for an aeronautic project.


The Bossy family and the Brits had loads of fun during this time. Having children of similar ages, the adults would get together deep into the night, sitting on one porch or another, a baby monitor propped against a wine bottle in order to better ignore the waking children:


The morning of September 11th, 2001, Bossy backed out of her driveway early on the way to her usual Tuesday classes at Temple University.

It was a delightful morning. Bossy’s route took her past the Philadelphia Airport, where the crystal clear visibility allowed Bossy to notice the choreographed line of approaching flights. “What a beautiful day to fly,” Bossy thought for the first time in the two years she had been commuting.

A handful of minutes later, Bossy was settling into her first class of the day, an 8:30 am law class held in the dank basement of an outdated building. Bossy’s law teacher modeled himself after the very successful lawyer Johnnie Cochran, which is to say he dressed like a pimp:


In addition, Bossy’s self important law teacher had watched a few too many episodes of The Paper Chase:


So there sat Bossy and her fellow pimply-faced twenty-year-olds in a basement classroom while the teacher held forth, when suddenly there was a knock on the door. Bossy’s teacher was motioned outside, and Bossy and her classmates did what any respectable, serious students would do: they whispered and giggled.

But then Bossy’s law teacher was back, and he was saying, “Ladies and Gentleman, I don’t know how to say this, but it looks as though our country is being attacked.

He went on with a string of words like New York City and airplanes and bombs, while Bossy and her classmates scurried to pack up their books, and a few students with family working in and around the World Trade Center tried unsuccessfully to stifle their rising panic.

Bossy took the stairs to the ground level two at a time, pausing near the building’s entrance to catch a few minutes of the Today Show on an old television rolled into the middle of the hallway on a black metal cart.


And then suddenly someone was reporting a bomb at the Pentagon, and Bossy began running toward her car. Once there Bossy maneuvered out of the parking lot while scrolling across the entirety of her radio dial without finding any live coverage of the events.


Bossy drove home along the same route past the airport, where Bossy held her breath and turned to look at the other drivers as she flew by them in the passing lane, ascertaining by their blank expressions they didn’t yet know the news.

Once home, Bossy ran across the front lawn and through her front door, settling into the family room with her mom to watch the news. A few minutes later, Bossy’s British neighbor Karen joined them on the sofa.

And there the three of them sat for a timeless stretch of hours, while directly behind their heads, the impatiens growing in Bossy’s window boxes flourished in a riot of color in the September 11th sunshine.


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