September 11th, 2001, remembered

I had a job on September 11th.

If you are an actor (or otherwise employed in the arts), you know that “having a job” means anything from “rehearsals start soon” to “under contract for a number of years” and the hours and renumeration vary accordingly.

In this case, we were already in rehearsal for a long-running show called “Lafferty’s Wake” at a small venue (The Society Hill Playhouse) in Philadelphia. It was a good show, and a good job. Humorous interaction with the audience, which was all around us in a pub setting. Several of us were joining the cast, and I was pretty darned excited to be once again employed in my field, despite a high level of concern about leaving my husband 4 nights a week with our 4 kids.

But that happens at night, mostly. During the day I was homeschooling, cooking, doing laundry, and the many other activities associated with my main job, trying to get a family raised to be happy, contributing, members of their society.

I was also moderating a parenting bulletin board. That’s how I saw the first plane hit. We went from potty training to news, and I ran for the TV. Called my husband at work. Saw the towers fall.

My sister had a job on September 11th.

This is a picture of my sister.

I love my sister, circa 1964

Niagara Falls trip, early '80's












This is another one.





On September 11th, 2001, my sister’s job was in transition. She was being made a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. Her ceremony was planned for September 14th, in Washington DC, where she worked.

Since my sister joined the Navy, shortly after college, I have been impressed by Naval ceremonies. They have a personality and warmth that I wasn’t expecting. People bring their families and mostly sit in rows without rank, and they’re well… just warm, fuzzy, (albeit inspiring) things (particularly considering they feature a lot of authoritative, short-haired, mostly men, who I know perfectly well could snap me like a twig, if they wanted to). And I was wildly excited and proud about this Chief Petty Officer thing. Chiefs are special. MY sister made Chief. Because she’s always been totally amazing and badass.



Because instead of being in the Pentagon when the plane hit, as she would have been, she was engaged in some sort of pre-Chief hazing activity that involved caddying for senior Chiefs on a golf-course, that day. She was on a golf-course. Phones were down, took a while to find out.

She spent the weeks following at the site, as they looked for survivors, and entering data as her friends were identified by their DNA. Her clearance was high enough to do that.

And that’s what, from a purely personal and selfish point of view, we must call ‘lucky.’

This is another picture of my sister, at a beautiful family wedding, last night.

My sister Alex, and her husband, Mike (USAF ret)

Our fabulous Adam and Nina

Here’s the bride and groom, who were teenagers 10 years ago. It was a totally AWESOME wedding, which deserves its own post.

My sister will retire, next month, at the rank of Lieutenant. I look forward to the ceremony.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night. -Irish Blessing