September 11, 2020

Nineteen years have gone by and we still remember that beautiful September morning, blue skies and all the promise of back to school and autumn ahead. While I may repeat my post from year to year in memory of that day and the lives lost and changed forever, the feelings are fierce.

This year I may be quieter here. Things have changed in the world due to politics and a pandemic. The flow of days and what happens has changed, probably forever. But, we all know where we were; how we heard; what we thought; what happened next, even while trying to swim and keep our heads above water today. We may be frightened by different events as we were by the idea of homeland security and attacks against Americans by other Americans because they looked different or worshiped difference. Things aren’t that different now.

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

This is the quilt I was working on that day as it was in September, 2001. It is still a favorite and still filled with loss.

September 11, 2020

World Watercolor Month Day #3

It was nice being off three days. Did a lot of painting, had a nice day with Mom, went to watercolor class. Today, back to work. After work it was still about 90 and it was just bright and glare-y and meh sky.

Came home and put the new line in the weed-whacker and finished whacking the weeds (aka the front lawn). That was more than enough to send me inside!

I’d listened to and read too much news today and thought about how I was working in a mall on the fourth of July and how we’d be pretty busy tomorrow, on a “short” day while all the world craziness went on and even crazier.

So I painted this.

World Watercolor Month Day #3

September 11, 2018

REMEMBER

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

This year there is a lot of news chatter that is hurricane-related, understandable of course, but the September 11 reports have an oddly historical feel about them. 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


Seventeen years and the memories are still sharp. This year again hurricanes nestling with daily news and remembrances. The current political state brings that time to mind in blaring contrast but while it was a wonderful comfort then now those feelings and support lend hope and sustenance.

Advice worth pausing for

Today’s a day when we remember and reflect on the violence thrust upon us as a nation and many people as individual human beings on that clear blue-sky morning of September 11, 2001.

A few months later I quoted Christoffer M. Carstenjen from his own website. Chris was one of two from the English/Morris dance communities killed. He was on UA flight 175 enroute to join a group of bikers for a ride up the California coast. Reading it today, I realized that much of it is now advice I pass on to younger co-workers and friends. Let’s resolve to live and live fully and well every day for as long as we have.

Best of all…..

Keep healthy, wealthy and wise. Your job is important, but don’t live for just your job! Keep active and an open mind. Practice random acts of kindness. Complement someone each day. Listen to all sides of a story before making a decision. Don’t be afraid to admitting on being wrong. Learn the meaning of Life. Try, please try, to live within your means. Don’t worry about saving money for your kids’ college costs, it means lots more if they pay their own way. Save at least 15% of what you make for retirement. Try to meet someone new everyday. Ann Landers really means well. Plan for the future. Listen and surround yourself with positive people and speakers. Don’t let the turkeys get you down. Write when you get work.. :-)

Take care,

Christoffer
aka Sir Sword Boy , The Porch Guy, and Mr. Wonderful

September 11, 2017

REMEMBER

Photo by Pearl Yee Wong of the Michigan State University Museum

This year there is a lot of news chatter that is hurricane-related, understandable of course, but the September 11 reports have an oddly historical feel about them. 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

Sunday, August Is Flying

When I got home tonight, there was still the August Postcard Poetry Fest poem to get done. Earlier today I’d responded to a post on Facebook and thought and then forgot about the line which I thought, at the time, would make a great inclusion in a poem. I was a good way down the poem when I remembered! Yeah coffee! So the poem includes the line

the red caboose of contentment.

Because who could resist that line?

At the meeting, someone pointed out an actual slide from an actual Macworld keynote… I knew where my July 2001 badge was. It hangs over my desk. At some point, I had put my old-new name on it again, but everything else is as it was, before the world changed.