9/11: My Journey Home

This is a picture of me and Lannie, one of my best friends from college. It was 2001 and I was in New York for a job interview. I got the job, so she took the train down from Massachusetts to celebrate with me. I had two weeks to pack my bags, grab my cat, and move my life from Houston to New York.

I had been waiting for this moment my whole life.

Lannie and Ashley, NYC 2001

NYC 2001

Gosh, we were so young… so happy… so tipsy. To the stranger who took this photo, thanks!

I wanted to post this picture of us because every year on this day, I get a note from her:

2013

Because this was where I worked:

myoffice1wtc.jpg

For the record, my office did open earlier… I was just always late. You see, I had just met this great guy and saying goodbye every morning was tough. Eventually, I would leave New York for New Orleans and marry him.

wedding2

 

So basically, it was love that kept me safe that day. But it shook me to the core. It shook the world and everyone felt it.

2012

I remember the heavy dust that hung over the entire city for what seemed like forever. In a city that never sleeps, it was so quite and so still.

I remember walking for hours trying to get home. My apartment was on 79th, so I had about 80 blocks to go. Public transportation was paralyzed and it took a few hours to get home. It shouldn’t have taken that long. I don’t know why it did. I was running in water.

There was no cell phone service. I remember hitting redial on my phone over and over and over again desperately trying to get through to someone. Anyone. I was so glad to finally get through to my dad. I think I heard his knees fall to the floor. After we hung up, he called my mother. I didn’t know if I would get another line.

By the time I reached Time Square, both towers had fallen. I stopped to rest only to realize I was surrounded by the instant replay of falling buildings and falling bodies. News tickers swarmed around bearing terrible news.

timessquare

Times Square, September 11, 2001 (image source browardbulldog.org)

When I finally reached my apartment, there was a note on my door. I changed my clothes, washed my face and stared at the blinking light on my answering machine. I walked out the door and headed to his apartment. I can still see his face when he opened the door.

I called my mom. She sobbed. She sobbed because she wasn’t sure she would ever hear my voice again. And then she sobbed for all the mothers who would not get a call that day.

And that’s when I realized the magnitude of what had happened.

Written by Ashley Bond

Ashley Bond

Founder of parenting blog, entrepreneur, underestimated disorganized overachiever.

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Comments

  1. Loren Stendahl says:

    Oh Ash, that was such an incredible piece–one of the best you’ve written, and that’s saying a lot. And yes, that sound you heard was my knees hitting the floor. I’ve never been, and probably never will, be so happy to hear your voice on the other end of the phone that day. Waiting several hours to hear any news was gut-wrenching, to say the least–it took half a fifth of rum to settle me down! All is well now, and I’m so very proud of you and your beautiful family. I LOVE YOU!!!! Dad

  2. Debra Chenault says:

    Wow, Ashley! This brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing your story. This is such a sad day each year but after reading this, I can actually smile on this day. And thank God for having the opportunity to meet you and Skip in New Orleans!!

  3. I am just catching up on reading during naptime (hallelujah) and I totally relate to being on the OTHER end of the phone. My dad was in NY that day, headed to a meeting at those very buildings. Every word you wrote brought back such raw emotion that I sometimes don’t even realize is there because it seems like such a distant memory and a lifetime ago … I too have since married and had children, so it feels like it was ages ago. I remember vividly getting out of class on what was a picturesque fall day in Charlottesville – the exact type of day that makes you glad to be alive. I heard the news, remembered my dad was in NY and feared the worst, although I had no idea the magnitude of what was to come. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. I am so glad I know you. I’m so glad you are here. I’m so happy to have my friend. I’m so blessed to have you in my life. Thank God for Love! It saves….

  5. INCREDIBLE post. Thank you so much for sharing. I shared with my FB family. Glad to have you as our adopted daughter in the City of Jazz!

  6. thank you for sharing! i know how happy your family and boyfriend and friends were to know you were ok. I had just moved to New Orleans from Philly and had many friends and family in danger. And so many people never got that call.. <3

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