If you ever thought that maybe you could get away without knitting a swatch for a project as big as a sweater, you’re wrong. Those are my two swatches in Ultra Alpaca for Hallett’s Ledge by Elinor Brown, from the newest Twist Collective. The left swatch is on US8, the right on 9. I’ve already cast on for the sweater (with a size 9) and I’m chugging along on the ribbing. But this isn’t about swatches.

I wrote the following in 2006, five years after I watched an airplane fly into the World Trade Center, watched both towers collapse, and evacuated Lower Manhattan with thousands of other people. I’ve shared the same post previously on this blog, but I need to share it again. For myself. To remember. Not that I don’t remember every day, because I mostly do.

All these years later I still feel my heart race when I hear an airplane flying low. That sound sticks with me the most, out of all these memories. That sound brings me right back to that morning. Then yesterday I drove down main street in my town, which is suddenly lined with about a hundred American flags. That made me remember, too.

Anyway, thanks for allowing me this change of pace; the rare occasion when it isn’t all about knitting.

My nine-eleven reflections: September 11, 2006

I’ve been noticing all the 9-11 news over the past few weeks, but I’m not much interested.  What sticks with me from that day five years ago are my own memories, which are fuzzy and vivid at the same time.

I remember waking up, a little hungover, and turning my head to see the sunrise glistening on the Twin Towers.  I had just gotten back to New York, and I loved my 28th floor dorm room looking over lower Manhattan.  I hadn’t seen a sunrise like that ever in the three years I spent in NYC.  It was glorious, but I was tired so I turned back to bed and snuggled under my warm covers to get some more sleep.

I remember next being startled awake.  I turned my head again toward the windows, but this time instead of that sunrise, I saw an explosion.  It seemed pretend.  First thing I did was call my Dad.  I told him something had exploded at the World Trade Center.  I told him to turn on the radio or the TV.

I remember being stunned and sitting on my bed, only to turn again instinctively when I heard a loud rumbling.  That’s when I saw the second airplane hit the second tower.  Even today, when I hear the sound of an airplane flying over, my heart jumps in my chest a little.

I remember trying to get on a bus to ride up towards campus for class.  There was a girl on the bus who had just spent a semester in Isreal.  She thought she was safer being back in NYC.  The bus went nowhere as I sat there for 20 minutes, so I got off and went back to my room.

I remember the confetti in the air.  Looked like confetti, at least.  I think it was paper.  It was blowing slowy right past my window.  I took pictures.

I remember watching the worst thing, and I couldn’t take my eyes away.  People were jumping from the tower.  I tried to believe it wasn’t people, just debris.  My roommate told me to stop looking, so it must have been people.  I did not take pictures of that.

The order of things is all sort of fuzzy.

I remember my building shaking as the first tower fell.  That was scary.  I didn’t know where to look or what to do.  I didn’t know if I should stay where I was (the RA’s had been telling us to stay in our rooms) or leave.  I tried calling my Dad again, but the line was dead.  I was scared and I kept getting up to move around my room, only to sit down again to try and make sense of what was happening.

I remember the building shaking a second time, and this time I knew what was happening.  As I looked out the window down to the street below, I saw dust and smoke and whatever filling the streets, like something you would see in an action movie.  People below were trying to outrun the cloud of dust, but it came over them faster than they were able to escape.

I remember the RA’s running through the halls now, banging on doors, yelling at us to evacuate through the stairwell.  I grabbed my purse and my cellphone and started the trek down the stairs then uptown.  It was strange, the sidewalks filled with so many people all walking the same direction.  I wasn’t able to go back to my dorm room for two weeks.
I remember the next few days in NY.  I stayed with my friends in their apartment in the East Village.  No traffic was allowed below fourteenth street, and it was eerily quiet on the street.  We watched the news all day.  With nothing much to do, we drank beer.  We checked in with people by email.  We saw the American flags displayed.

My life changed after that day.  I never did go back to school in NYC, and I was growing a baby that I didn’t yet know about.

Everybody has their “where were you when it happened?” story.  This is part of mine.

9 thoughts on “swatchin’

  1. Thanks for sharing. And let us also remember our servicemen, many of whom responded to this awful day by deciding to serve their country in a tangible way.

  2. Gone but not forgotten, forever in our hearts.

    Thank you for sharing. I think about this often, and not just on the anniversary. And it tears my heart apart just the same every time.

  3. Somehow our 8-year-old son hasn’t gleaned in previous years what happened on this day, a year before he was born. So today I told him, and while he still doesn’t really grasp what it means, it feels good to make him more fully aware of the world. Thanks for sharing your story again. I like to think our ‘babies’ will figure out the whole peace thing, don’t you?

  4. I remember being on the phone with you, and you telling me that the RA was telling you not to evacuate, and me saying, just come to my house. I also remember the phone going dead near the time I saw one of the towers collapse on CNN, and thinking, “….” and being so incredibly relieved when you showed up at my house.

    Gary – my fiance, who remembers you – and I were talking about that today.

  5. I thought I should separate the comments. I’m glad that the swatch size resulted in needing the US9 result. I think it is a much better looking cable. I think I’d have been disappointed to swatch and discover that I needed the US8 instead – it doesn’t look as good.

  6. {{hugs}}

    I still can’t sit through the reading of the names without crying. I still haven’t been down to the WTC since. I was *really* glad that I didn’t have to come into the city this year (as I would on a week day) because following the same routine makes the day worse – like reliving it over and over. It’s nice to know we’re not alone and can reach out to others with similar experiences for comfort.

    Also – swatches are priceless

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