How I Missed 9/11

by Laura

2001.  Now that was the year that was.  But not for the reason most folk think…

The year began with half of us moving several states south, 1 of us moving several streets north, and 1 of us packing up the minivan with all sorts of odd essentials, and living like a nomad.  Julie, our younger Daughter, had become engaged to be married to a lovely young man…well, that was 15 years ago, although he is still a young man to me…and we were in the midst of The Wedding.  Plans were going along quite smoothly, thank you very much, when Rick’s employer threw a massive spanner into the works:  you are being assigned to the new hub in south Florida.

Say what?

At the time, Rick’s employer, the late, great, Airborne Express, had but one hub and it was where we had happily settled in 1994.  So we had a choice:  Rick could become one of the pilots that commuted to his hub (a nightmare at best), or, we could pull up stakes and move…lock, stock, and barrel…for the three years we were guaranteed to be in Florida.  There was just one small hiccup.  We had to move within a 90 day window if we wanted ABX to pay for it.

The Wedding was planned for October.  Our 90 day window ended in 1 April.  April Fool’s.

Rick had move in January.  So we celebrated Christmas with Mom, came home, packed him up, and waved good-bye.  I felt like a military wife.  Again.  Put the house on the market the first week in February; sold it in 4 days.  Flew down to Florida to get started on the new house.  Came home, arranged for packers and movers, and started renegotiating The Wedding Vendors.  Not too many problems, except it blew all the flowers we had planned.  Changed flowers.  Dress is now on “RUSH”.  Arranged to stay with friends after we move stuff to Florida.  Rick rents temporary housing while we build; Diane gets a job in Florida; Julie in final semester of college.  Oh! my Sister has another bouncing Baby Boy.  Yay!  Phone rings.

It’s Mom.  “Hi!  I know the movers will be at your house next week, but I’d like to see you beforehand.  Any chance you could come up for a quick visit?”

Sure!  No problem!  I can’t remember now if I flew or drove, but I remember having lunch with Mom on St Patrick’s Day after I got there.  Apparently, Mom’s scheduled for bypass surgery the day the movers will be at my house; something she hadn’t mentioned before now because, “I didn’t want to worry you; you have so much going on.”  Seriously?

The week of the move, Rick gets a schedule with some days off, comes back, and we’re all there to pack Diane’s car with whatever she needs for Florida (since our household goods will be there in about a week).  Then we pack Julie’s car with what she needs for the next four months, and my minivan with whatever The Wedding needs, I need, and some clothes that will take me through to June 18th…two days after The Wedding.  At that point, Rick and I will drive together to Florida.  Just as I am getting concerned about not having heard from my Sister about Mom’s surgery, the phone rings.  It’s Mom’s Sister, Aunt Millie.

“You need to come up.  Now.  Your Mom needs you. Now.  She knows the movers just left, but you need to come.  Now.  Things didn’t go very well.”

“Ok.  I can leave in the morning.  But, what about…”

“We’ll handle that.  Just come as soon as you can.”

So we settle Julie in at our friends, Diane and Rick start back to Florida, and I drive up to Chicago.  Now.  Again.

Eleven weeks later, Mom is gone.  The simple bypass surgery wasn’t so simple after all.  We buried Mom with Dad on their 58th Wedding Anniversary, a glorious, perfect June day.

Memory Eternal, Mom and Dad.  Memory Eternal!

In the midst of all this, Julie graduated University…and got married.  The Wedding was perfect, once we found Diane’s dress, that is.

On June 18th, we drove to Florida.  Diane had “shopped” through our household goods and made our temporary house the perfect home.  I still remember how hard she worked to put it all together; how proud I am of the job she did, making everything perfect for me, for us, in spite of the chaos of those months.  Julie and her Husband had a wonderful honeymoon on Key West.  The dust seemed to be settling.

For about six weeks.

ABX decided our three years was over after eight months and we were being assigned back to where we started.  That was in August.  The house wasn’t completed, yet.  Neither was the lease on our temporary “construction home”.  So again, I stayed, Rick left. We sold our lovely Florida house before we even owned it, started another house, and found another temporary “construction home”.  ABX, again, gave us 90 days to move.  So, by February, Diane and I were back in Ohio.  Are you tracking this, dear Reader?  Between January and September, we had bought and sold two houses, moved twice, buried my Mother, gained a Nephew, picked up a Bachelor’s degree, and launched a new Family with the marriage of our Daughter.  And people wonder why I have to stop and think when they mention 9/11?  Of course, 9/11 was in there, somewhere…and, yes, we remember it, mainly because Rick was flying that day.  Or was scheduled to fly.  He didn’t, though, as we learnt later.

Then another shoe dropped.