My first 9-11 quilt.
This was my response to driving to work on 9-11-02, in a new state, far away from New York, from the people I loved. the DJ was talking about the time, approaching 8:46, a moment of silence. My lips were quivering as I pulled off the interstate; my eyes were filling with tears, as they are this moment as I write this…unbidden and unstoppable.
The need–the push and pull of desire versus horror –to hear and see the reports on the radio of the first Ground Zero anniversary.
I stood in the employee break room, the television tuned to the news, finally forcing myself to shut the damned thing off; it would take too many hours standing frozen, to hear the names I felt compelled to hear. I found myself returning time and again, while fearing I would get caught goofing off with only 9 days employment under my belt…
I was miserably alone. My husband was at work. He would understand. My daughter; she was in Connecticut, in college, alone and confused and hurting. She would understand. My brother, he was in Philly-far away from my embrace; he would understand.
But these people here. They didn’t seem to understand. I think there were maybe a half dozen references to the date during the course of the day; I remembered spending the days after 9-11 cutting ribbons; and comforting people and hugging them, and here, no one was wearing ribbons; no one seemed to care.
I spent the first months of life in Virginia having people tell me how GLAD I must be that I was out of New York!
How DO you measure a year? Now, in 2009, even ‘Rent’ is no longer. (Rent was the show we went and bought tickets to on the very first chance we had to travel into Manhattan when the ferries started running…solidarity, desire to survive, the need for Arlie to see that Mike wasn’t coming home…)
Measuring years lately has taken on the feeling of trying to measure the rush of the wind. Time flies by; we are celebrating the start of another school year, waving goodbye to another summer; and with it, the melancholy of 9-11 descends as it does for the weeks running up to it; I notice how I cringe having to tell people their order will be done on September 11; how I brush it off to ‘two weeks’ from today,’ or “on the ‘11th’,” but saying 9-11…
I don’t watch much TV; I don’t know if tomorrow is being hyped; I do know Facebook is going to open my heart to more heartbreak this year. Having lost touch with so many—and not knowing their circumstances over the past 26 years– I know I am going to find that friends still in NYC are suffering in ways I don’t even want to imagine…
I was only peripherally involved in 9-11. A witness, not a victim. And yet.
This quilt was designed by me when I came home from work that day in 2002 after work; a frenzied desire to create something, to get all the feelings and thoughts out of my head.
It took time to finish of course. (It’s me, after all.) I asked my friends and families to offer to me the names of loved ones they lost, and I embroidered their initials along the edges.
And I while I would like to say there can be no more, I will be honored to add the initials of your loved one.
Here is a bit of the original essays that I wrote in 2001, and photographs of the day itself (in the form of a scrapbook, double click on the image) Its a tough read, and a tough view. And everyone should have to read it, have to remember it.
(Another quilt, part of a triptych, called Disc/Gard Guard Aquehonga, the sun setting on Fresh Kills.)
Hugs to you, Kerin, and Jessica, and Arlie and Pokey. Love you all.