Lower Manhattan, New York City 2001
I live in the area that we have come to know as “Ground Zero”. It was not called “ground Zero” in 1999 when my husband and I decide to buy a loft here. Then it was called “Southern Tribeca” or “Lower Manhattan”. It was a good neighborhood for families because the Public Schools were among the best in the city. Real estate was reasonably priced as the area was underdeveloped. We felt like pioneers.
My husband, Alan and I lived in the shadow of the World Trade center but it was not really a part of our lives. I would go to the concourse from time to time to do a little shopping. I thought the daycare facility in the WTC might be convenient if we ever had children. The impact that the WTC would come to have on my life was unimaginable to me on the bright fall morning of September 11, 2001.
The two towers have come to symbolize not just this city’s skyline but a life style, a sense of invulnerability and privilege that has been lost. Their destruction is a time marker for all of us, before 9/11 or after?
The story that follows is true, it happened to me. I have written to document for myself and later, for my son, the strange, horrible, miraculous and beautiful events of Sept 11 and beyond. I was an unwitting and unwilling participant in history–the christening event of the new Millennium. From my perspective history is observed not by a scholar or journalist but by an ordinary woman. The fact that I was 37 weeks pregnant with my first child on September 11 only heightened the drama, if that is possible, and gave the event more resonance for me. I experienced the double whammy of new Motherhood and posttraumatic stress.
Since the attack I have thought about how I will explain the events to my son, Luca. My hope has been that in writing down my recollections I will gain a perspective, which will enable me to tell this story to him.
We are back home now, on Murray Street. Life has regained a feeling of normalcy I am learning to be a Mother. I have done a great deal of this writing in the dark of night, during Luca’s late feedings. During those moments I sit with nothing but the glow of the computer screen and with the groans and beeps of heavy machinery outside our window clearing the debris from the site of the WTC. I hunt and peck my way across the keyboard looking for answers and documenting my new life. Sometimes, in those wee hours I have felt that the darkness would ever end, but most of the time I have seen the dawn and I know that mine are stories of hope and birth, not death and despair.
Within these walls nothing seems to have changed but outside these walls the world is a very different place. How we choose to live in this new world has yet to be seen. This story is about how the old world ended and how one pregnant woman struggled to create normalcy out of chaos.