…when in self-doubt:
My story isn’t unlike most others.
A junior at MSU, I was laying in bed bleary eyed, listening to the Today show not wanting to get up for my Business Communication class when the first plane hit. Â Cameras immediately took to the Trade Towers and Matt Lauer began describing the situation as best he could with little information about what just happened. Â At that point, it was an “explosion”.
Then the second plane hit. Â I did what any other normal, sane person would do (read: anyone obsessed with news and current events) – I popped a tape into my VCR and hit record. Â Yeah. A VCR. Â Remember those things?
Looking back, I have no idea what really compelled me to do it other than I wanted to see what was going on by watching the tape when I got back from class. Â Because I thought I was going to class that day.
As I got ready I made a phone call to my dad, who lived in Chicago at the time, Â to make sure he wasn’t at work downtown in a tall building. Â (Remember: no one knew what was going on then…) Â He picked up the phone.
“Hey Dad, just calling to say hello and make sure you’re not working downtown today.”
“Nope. Â Not in Chicago today. Â I’m in Manhattan for the day on business. Do you know what’s going on?”
The line went dead.
He was calm and cool. Â He didn’t know what was going on. Â Just that something was going on.
The next moments were like a scene out of a movie.
I frantically called again and again. Everyone was trying to call loved ones. Â Networks were bogged down. Â 20 minutes or so went by. Â Could have been longer.
I finally got through. Â I quickly and I’m sure eloquently, spit everything out as fast as I could because I didn’t want the line to cut out again before I told him:
“Planes hit the Trade Center. Â 2 of them. Â There’s something going on at the Pentagon too. Â They think it may have been another plane. They’re saying something else about another plane not responding.”
“We’re under attack. Â I’m going to get to the airport to get home.”
“Dad. Â DAD! Â Do NOT go to the airport. Â They’ve shut everything down. Â They think they used planes! Â Don’t go to the airport.”
The line went dead again.
I tried calling him again and again but it was hopeless. Â It took 3 hours before I got ahold of him. Â He told me he was okay. Â He told me how he still hoped to get a flight out tomorrow. Â He explained he was going to be sharing a hotel room with 4 other people he met since every hotel in a 50 mile radius was now booked by day business travelers hoping beyond hope to get home soon. Â He told me the new New York City skyline was heartbreaking.
It took him another 5 days to get out of NYC. Â He eventually rented a car and drove back to Chicago. Â But he got home. Â Thankfully. So thankful.
I’m sure in hindsight he wouldn’t have headed to the airport. Â I’m sure in hindsight my dad wished he would have just rented a car, right off the bat. Â I’m sure in hindsight he wouldn’t have asked me what was going on. Â I’m sure in hindsight he probably wouldn’t have told me he thought we were under attack.
But that’s the thing about these moments we all remember. Â The moments that change our lives. Â They are raw, unfiltered.
Do you remember that? Â Do you remember the panic we all felt? Â Do you remember how those moments became a cohesive, unifying declaration that we all are Americans and we all are in this together? Â Do you remember that?
I miss that.
In an election season filled with unending finger pointing and divisive issues that spew hate filled diatribes, it’s hard to remember that unity existed. Â It’s hard to remember that beyond partisan differences, we can communicate effectively. Â Respectfully.
Try to remember that this election. Â We’re more than capable of unity in a sea of differences. Â Let’s hope that on September 12th and beyond, the politicians remember it, too.
On a sidenote: Â I just talked to my dad who again, is traveling for work today (he tends to do that a lot) and we reminisced about this time 11 years ago. Â I was in full on panic mode trying to call him. Â He was using his negotiating skills trying to get a hotel room. Â And 11 years later, I’m blogging about it. Â Times sure have changed.
Where were you on September 11th?
She passed away on June 14th, 2011 and as special way of remembering her, I wanted to pay tribute to her on that day this year by writing about her. Â Well, My Main Squeeze had to go and ruin that by doing this on June 14th:
After a (happy) tear-filled half hour or so of holy-crap-we’re-engaged-moments, My Main Squeeze managed to tell me that the diamond in my engagement ring is actually from his grandmother’s engagement ring. Â To which I replied with, I’m sure, a very memorable garble of emotions and more tears and more garble and more tears… Â Hey, I never said I was eloquent.
Once I wiped away more tears, I managed to tell him that this day was already so sentimental to me because it was a year ago that I lost my grandmother and to have today not be marked with tears of sadness, but with tears of joy upon our engagement and to be wearing such a special sentiment from his grandmother…it was one of those full circle moments. Â A moment in your life that serendipity, coincidence and good fortune all collide together at once. Â It was a silent pat on the back and reminder that it all makes sense.
Once My Main Squeeze realized the relevance of this day and knowing how much my grandmother meant to me, how much his grandmother means to me and how special this moment was all together, he said, “Well, duh. Â I totally planned it like that…”
So, let me tell you about my Grandma.
She died at 91 years old and let me tell you, she wore her sassy-pants everyday. Â Every. day. Sometimes that sassiness got her into trouble, but mostly it gave everyone a great story to tell. Â Even near the end, one of her hospice care-takers told me that he wasn’t supposed to tell me this but, “She was my favorite.” Â She always had a way of making him laugh. Â It was those sassy-pants, I tell ya’.
Most people called her, Dolly. Â But that wasn’t her name. Â You see, she was such a pretty baby that her older sisters thought she looked like a dolly…and it stuck. Â Why couldn’t my older sister call me, “Princess”…? Â Us grandkids called her, “Mom-mom”. Â I have no idea why. Â I blame my older sister, naturally. Â It was pronounced, “Mum-mum”…like what British lads call their mom – “mum”.
Speaking of, you can blame my sassy Mom-mom for giving me my love of all things British…and all things Royal Family. Â She used to be a hairstylist and when I was little we used to go to her shoppe in the basement, where all the ladies used to get their hair done and read every People magazine ever printed about Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Â My grandma would tell me how cold and callous that mean Prince Charles seemed. Â She’s the one who told me Prince William was around my age and got my wheels spinning… Â It wasn’t his dashing good looks or royal status, it was my grandmother who forced me to like him!
She spoke so passionately about her travels that you couldn’t help but want to travel the world and see. every. single. thing. she. had. seen. Â She had piles of albums and pictures of her in every corner of the world. Â Piles. Â “It’s your duty to see and know what’s going on in the world, otherwise you don’t deserve to have an opinion.” Â I was accepted into the People to People Student Ambassador program as a teenager and had the opportunity to go to the UK and Ireland for three weeks! I had worked my tail off, saved and raised as much money as I could for that trip. Â But, in the end, I was a bit short. (Read: more than a “bit”) Â My grandma heard and cut me a check and told me to enjoy myself. Â It was probably her lame attempt to get me to find Prince William… Â But, needless to say, without that trip I would not have the passion that I have today for traveling.
Her love of history was contagous and if my father and myself are any evidence, it’s hereditary as well. Â She could talk for hours about the events that took place hundreds of years ago around where she lived, about how the first woman in the area who drove a stagecoach was related to us and how exactly the English used a fox-hound in fox hunts during the fall.
I’m not sure about you, but my parents were always pretty quiet about their political affiliations. Â I always knew my grandma was quite passionate about politics, though. Â I actually didn’t realize her party affiliation until I was older because it never came across as partisan to me. Â I just knew that at any level: township, city or state — my grandma was involved. Â I remember as an adult, going through a giant envelope filled with tons of buttons from presidential elections from Nixon to Reagan to (H.W.)Â Bush Â — she was, obviously, a card-carrying Republican. Â Some political opinions in our family don’t fall in line with each other (makes for a super fun and awkward Thanksgiving dinner) and I remember one particular time that people (perhaps me) started stirring the political pot around the kitchen. Â My grandma quickly stopped the chatter and asked if any of us had volunteered at a polling precinct or licked envelopes at campaign headquarters. Â “Voting is great, but until you start at that the grassroots level and involve yourself with the cause you’re arguing about, you’re not helping to change much.” Â I remember being very proud to call myself her granddaughter that night. Â She also grabbed my hand the Christmas after Obama was elected and told me how neat she thought it was that he won.
My grandma spent most of her 91 years in a beautiful area of Pennsylvania that some people affectionally call “Amish-ville”. Â And no, we aren’t Amish. Â Could you imagine? Â A blogging Amish-girl? Â That could be awkward… Â Her and my (deceased) Grandad built a house on a hill that overlooked their many acres of land. Â It was a place of respite for us Peterson kids. Â In the many moves we made as children and amid the turmoil of our parents divorce, that place remained the same. Â It was a saving grace of sorts in our ever-changing, ever-anxious world. Â We could come there and be ourselves, regardless of age. Â You can be as alone as you wanted there. Â Even today that place still looks (and smells) the same. Â Have you ever had a hard time falling asleep so you picture the most perfect, serene place you’ve ever been? Â THAT’S what I picture.
Even when it started becoming obvious that my grandma’s age was becoming detrimental to her living alone, she refused to leave her house. Â Her farm. Â Her little piece of the world. Â And much to my father’s dismay, she was unwilling to even consider a nursing home. Â That was her home and she was staying. Â My father obliged her wishes (demands) andÂ arranged her assisted living at the house soÂ she could stay on her farm until her dying day.
That day came early in the morning on June 14th, 2011.
During her funeral I was overwhelmed with how much she had taught me and how much I was like her. Â It’s a shame those things didn’t become vividly clear to me until her death. Â She had given me so much to take with me on my journey through life.
Including my sassy-pants.
I will be wearing those hereditary sassy-pants everyday. Â Just for you, Mom-mom.
I’m from here. Â Yes, here.
I’ve pointing to my hand a lot lately. Â For some, it’s an odd way of telling people where you’re from. Â But, anyone who does it this way is bonded by that special state called Michigan. Â I actually started putting this list together in the months before we moved to Florida. Â As the days dwindled down and our home began to resemble a warehouse of boxes, each event turned into, “the last time”.
“This is the last time I’ll see your kids. Â Next time they’ll actually be able to say, ‘Auntie Caroline.'”
“Oh my gosh, this is the last time I’ll be at a Coney Island. Â This is my last lemon rice soup!”
“This will be the last time I pick up a prescription from this CVS.”
“This is this the last time I’ll be running in this neighborhood. Â This is the last time I’ll run past this house, this bush, over this sidewalk crack…”
You get my compulsive point.
We’re adjusting to Florida as well as expected. Â You can’t beat palm trees and sunshine! Â But you also can’t beat the comfort of “home”. Â Soon enough, I know our little piece of Florida will feel like home too. Â But in the meantime, the following is a list, in no particular order, of Â things that I miss most about Michigan.
Things I don’t miss:
Have fun with THAT this weekend, suckas!
…to bring you some (late) breaking news.
So, this happened:
And then this happened:
Becoming engaged (!) and moving 1500 miles are really only minor life changing events. Psshhh. There’s (obviously) much to blog about and I appreciate you sticking by CarolineMadeThis. There will be many updates in the coming days. Don’t you worry, my little Padawans.
We will now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Yesterday I woke up and did my regular routine before work: I contemplated getting up and working out for so long that I only worked out for 35 minutes (hey! I worked out in the end…what did you do?) fed the Bax-man, showered, put my face on and watched the news.Â I did manage to get some clothes on in between there.
I’ve watched the news nearly every morning and since elementary school my choice has usually been NBC’s Today Show. I remember when Bryant Gumble hosted.Â Yeah. Remember that guy?
So, I turned on the Today show yesterday morning and caught a nice 10 minute segment about the new show, Dallas.Â Well, it’s not a new show.Â It’s just been updated from theÂ 1978â€“1991 run it had.Â Did you notice the part where I mentioned it was 10 minutes long? That EONS in live news broadcasting.Â EONS on celebrating a television show being re-done.
“They spent a full 10 minutes discussing Dallas. Dallas!Â As if nothing is going on in Syria right now,” I grumbled.Â My Main Squeeze chuckled at my discontent.Â He knows it’s not an unusual complaint for me.
In the Today show’s defense, I caught that Dallas segment in the late first half hour of the show – after they’ve touched on the big news stories of the day.Â Usually read by Natalie Morales.Â Previously read by Anne Curry.Â Nerd alert!
You see, I have a very hard time not knowing what’s going on in the world.Â It’s important to me.Â I’ve made it a part of my daily routine to be informed.Â I’m baffled at people who don’t seem to care about being informed. Those people all share one irritating, maddening trait: apathy.
In my many adventures abroad, it really bothered me to hear the general stereotype that Americans were uneducated about the issues going on in the world around them, including in their own country.Â Yet, when I hear that people “really don’t care” about the upcoming election or that “it doesn’t affect me” or “the news is so depressing, why watch it?” they continue to prove that theory.
That apathy creates the world that we all live in.Â It’s funny how tunes are changed when a lack of caring gets someone elected into office and those elected officials in turn make decisions that directly affect people’s relatives or paycheck or healthcare or ability to retire. Why does it take that to make people pick up a newspaper? Whoops, sorry. How old school.Â I meant read the news online.Â I love speaking with people who are engaging about current events.Â It tells me they care or at the very least care to be informed.Â When people shrug off the “depressing” news, it tells me this: it’s easier to remain in a bubble than deal with the uncomfortable feelings that news stories may bring up.
So you may not know what’s going on Syria right now.Â You many not want to know.Â Trust me, some of the images and stories are heart-wrenching.Â But what if you knew someone who had relatives there?Â What if you had relatives there? Shouldn’t we always listen to the news with this type of sentiment in mind?
It would be silly to claim that you or I should know everything going on in the world.Â That’s for Brian Williams to handle.Â But being more informed is never a bad thing.Â Never.Â Naivety isn’t very becoming.
So do this news-loving girl a favor and read something about what’s going on in Syria today.Â Or read that Apple didn’t announce the new iPhone 5 at the WWDC! Or did you hear that one woman dared to drive in Saudi Arabia?
Learn something new everyday, huh?