Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Memory . . .

One of the projects I've had on the back burner forever, is that of scanning old family photos.  For some reason, today seemed to be the day to start . . . When my mom died, she had probably 10 boxes of photos.  Some are labeled, some are not.  The scanner is crabby and I'm really thinking about getting a new one because probably only one out of every 10 scanned properly - and the rest were cut off somehow.  Bothersome.

At any rate, as I was getting started sorting things into decades (which is pretty much all I can really do - some have dates, some do not), I found an airline ticket jacket.  I wondered what trip it had been from, and as I opened it up, I realized that my mom had kept this:

You might want to click on it to biggify, and when you do, you'll see that this was my mom's ticket from Boston to D.C., on September 11th.

Yes, that September 11th.

I was living in Southern California at the time, and I remember that the phone rang quite early, and  my then husband came toward my office with phone in hand calling to me to go downstairs right away and turn on the telly.  I was halfway down the stairs, and called back up to him, "what channel?" and he said, "it doesn't matter."

We watched the second tower fall.  It didn't look real.  My ex-husband was a visual effects artist in the television industry, and scenes like what we were witnessing were very much like the types of scenes he created digitally.  But seeing the tower fall was real - right before our eyes. 

As the story became clearer, I realized that my mom was flying from Boston that morning - heading to Washington, D.C.  Hers was not one of the highjacked flights, but even so, I was frantic.  My ex-husband was on the phone with United airlines - I don't know how he even managed to get a human being to talk to, but he was able to find out that my mom's flight had not taken off.  But that was all they would tell him.  I didn't know if my mom had boarded and was on the plane.  I was afraid that maybe she and the rest of the passengers on that flight were being held hostage on the ground.  She was traveling with a friend, and I started calling the numbers and leaving messages.  It was hours before she finally called me, from Wooster, Massachusetts, where her friend's sister lived.

She had checked in at the airport, checked her bag, and made her way to the gate - and by the time she got to the gate, the terrorist attacks had happened.  She was turned away at the gate and never boarded her flight.  She said it took a long time to get out of the airport - I don't remember if she got her luggage that day or not - I think not.

She was grounded in Massachusetts and she wanted desperately to get back to Chicago.  She couldn't get a train or a rental car, and after a few days - rather than waiting any longer - she took a Greyhound bus home.  It wasn't a good trip, and my cousin's dad was supposed to pick her up, but he missed her somehow.  I got a call - at work - from the Chicago Police Department that they had my mom there.  She was walking around at the front of the bus station - which is not in a great area - and finally saw two police officers.  She went up to them, announced that her nephew was a Chicago Police Officer, and would they please take her to the main police station.  They did.  And called me.  I don't remember anymore how I managed to get that straightened out when I was all the way across the country, but I did.

I was surprised that she kept this ticket - she kept the Expedia paperwork, too.  There's a note on it that says "Cancelled    9-11-01    $362.58    Deborah." 


Michelle said...

Wow; what a STORY! And not that long ago, really. So much has happened in both our lives since then. I had the son I was pregnant with that day; you got single and lost your mother. And somewhere along the way we "met." (I'm so glad for that last one.)

Auntea said...

I think that ticket should be framed. Thank God your Mom was safe.
None of us will ever forget that horrible day. What an incredible find.


My daughter was scheduled to be in the towers on 9/11 for legal work but asked her boss to go there (from Boston) a week early since she wanted a vacation the week of 9/11. Thank God for that miracle. We have a picture of my daughter standing in front of the towers on the Tuesday one week before 9/11.