September 11, 2019

REMEMBER

911, quilt by Mary Beth Frezon, 2001. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong of the Michigan State University Museum

This is what I wrote as an early statement about this quilt:

September 11, 2001
The phone rang. I watched my mother talking and prepared myself to hear that someone had died. Who could have imagined? We didn’t have a TV where we were so we didn’t get the barrage of instant images. All we could do is listen to the phoned reports and wonder.

What stuck me about that day was the change. The sky was crystal blue, the Adirondack water still sparkled with the sun, the mountains still held in the lake on all sides. What had changed was me. I felt that someone had knocked a hole in my body or head. That there was a gap between the me of a few minutes before and the me now. I looked at the others and they seemed to have the same problem putting themselves into this new existence.

I’ve used simple images to portray that turning point where the innocent happiness changed on a moment in time. I’ve left a suggestion that this will continue to evolve. All grief becomes tempered over time but how long before the memory of that moment is softened?

We continue to remember and take the time to memorialize and to remember.

…I grabbed the last Sunday Times
You stole my cab
We waited forever at the bus stop
We sweated in steamy August
We hunched our shoulders against the sleet
We laughed at the movies
We groaned after the election
We sang in church
Tonight I lit a candle for you
All of you

from — “Nine-Eleven” by Charlotte Parsons


Remember.

Recently I realized that people coming into an age to work and to vote were either just born or about to be born in 2001. So we begin layers of people who have no connection, no memory of that day or its events. I realize that small children alive then don’t really remember, in the way that some younger than me at the time don’t remember Kennedy being killed. I don’t always know what to make of everything that brought us to this time, with its blowhard narcissist, but I am still here, trying to do what’s right and making art and words and soon to be marching.

I remember being buoyed up by the responses to the September 11th attacks and also being worried about the sudden homeland security and searches and all “to protect us”. And I remember the rising tide of hatred, surrounded by all those flapping patriotic flags, hatred against those “other” people who hated us enough to want to hurt and terrify us. And here we are today.

Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.

#RESIST

September 11, 2019

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