I have such mixed feelings about today. As I have said to a bunch of people today, I have very personal, intimate memories of 9/11 that are precious to me, but then there is that whole 9/11 political monolith which I hate. One of my strong memories is a news bit from that day, later in the day, with film from Lenox Hill Hospital and you hear this baby crying, and the newsman's voice over said, "Amidst all this death, there is new life." And then coverage of the babies that were born that day. Last week I saw an interview with one of the "babies," now 14 years old watching this particular coverage with her mother.
I also think about firemen coming to my building in August 2001 one Sunday morning because somehow there was fear of carbon monoxide... and as this fireman went through my apartment (as they were all apartments) with a detector, the captain (more my age) asked me if I had a CO detector and I said no. He said I should get one, which I did. This captain was so nice and we chatted for a while and on 9/11 it just struck me as if I knew if for certain (which I did) that he had been killed. I just knew it.
And sure enough, when I went to the firehouse the following week which is 3 blocks from where I live, there it was -- his photo and he had been killed and it didn't surprise me in the least.
I also remember meeting Barbara for lunch that Friday, and when we came out of the restaurant, on Broadway, all these tractors, bulldozers, trucks, etc in a caravan were heading downtown and people (including us) just looked at it. Then I got in a cab and the radio said that they need "vets" at Ground Zero, and I thought they meant veterans, but they meant animal doctors because the paws of the rescue dogs were burned. So sad. So many everyday memories like this. Like on Wednesday, I was outside my building and a man in a suit, totally covered with dust and soot, carrying a briefcase walked by and it was like he was a zombie... just staring straight ahead.
So it wasn't all sad today. I had lunch with my longest-duration friend Judy who was in my kindergarten class... I was thinking we've been friends for 60 years! Yikes. She stopped at the bagel place and bought me (my choice) of smoked turkey and swiss with some mayo on a sesame bagel and she got lox and tomatoes on a bagel and we both so enjoyed our lunch a great deal. I was thinking that the ideal shelf life of a bagel is about two hours, and we got ours in that window. Sort of crusty (but not hard) on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Oh man, it was good.
We talked about a lot of things but the conversation turned to books, and she is also an avid reader... and here are her recommendations which I wrote down because Lord knows I would never remember them. Can't vouch for them personally, but check them out on Amazon if you're looking for something good.
- Americanah [yes, with an H at the end]
- A Circle of Wives
- The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Happy Friday everyone.