Dear Family and Friends,
September 12, 2001
Some of us remember
where we were and what we were doing when President Kennedy was shot
38 years ago. I was teaching fifth grade at the John Ward School
in Newton, Massachusetts, that day. When the school district heard
of the events in Dallas, schools were closed immediately and we were
sent home for the remainder of the day. Judy was at home in Watertown
caring for a very young son, Michael, and watching the news on a
small black and white TV.
We’ll remember, in
the same way, where we were and what we were doing when four of our
commercial airplanes were turned against us by (currently) unknown
persons and thousands were killed and untold thousands more lives were
shattered and forever changed by the attacks. We were on the last day
of a two week vacation in Wyoming, having spent the night before at
the North Fork campground in the Snowy Range in the southern part of
the state. Though we have a radio in our RV, it rarely works very well
and we generally don’t use it, especially when we have no electrical
hook-up, which is seldom. However, the Denver Broncos were playing
their home opener on Monday night and I thought there might be a slim
chance that we might be able to pick up the game on a local Laramie
station. Success! We listened to the first half of the game and then
turned out the lights and went to sleep.
In the morning, I
turned on the radio to see who had won the game, and we heard the
first reports of the assault on the World Trade Towers. It was as
though we were listening to Orson Welles’ radio drama of “The War of
the Worlds.” There was, at least on radio, such an unreal quality
to what we were hearing it took us each quite some time for the
realization to sink in that the attacks were real and the work of
an organization, not the coincidental actions of a random individual
terrorist or two. We ate a very hurried breakfast and left for home,
listening to the details as they unfolded that morning. We were
able to contact daughter Debra in Milton to be reassured that Dan,
who travels often out of Boston, was safe in Europe (between London
and Paris at the time). Michael had made contact with the rest of
the family (in Massachusetts and Illinois) via email to learn they
were all safe as well.
last F&F letter in April, we had had an adventurous
and very satisfying summer in some beautiful parts of the
world: a challenging and memorable 16-day excursion to Peru
including hiking the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu; a 40th anniversary
party in our back “meadow” surrounded by family and friends from this
part of the country complete with bagpiper and our re-enactment of the
simultaneous mutual cake-feeding ritual; a family vacation to nearby
Steamboat Springs (tennis, biking, hiking, tubing, fly fishing, hot
springs, miniature golf, and an alpine slide that we’ll all remember);
Philip and Ann Bennett, whom we had met last summer on our Switzerland
trip, visited for several days of hiking in our Indian Peaks Wilderness
Area (and a day of urban hiking in Boulder); “camping” in Wyoming’s
national forest campgrounds with four days of our annual reunion with
Tom and Pat and Lee and Irene in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National
Parks. In the days between trips we were consumed with getting ready
for each upcoming event as well as the Visitors Center, the library,
and the new web page for the Chamber of Commerce we’ve been working
on with webmaster/son Michael. Fortunately, we have dodged a summer
of fires in our area; it has been a remarkably “wet” summer and
the daily rains, along with a regional fire ban, has kept our fire
danger to a minimum. Thankfully, Judy has had a “quiet” summer with
the fire department.
I had hoped to write in
more detail about each of our doings, but our family’s good fortunes
seem innocent and inconsequential next to the horrors our country
may face and the grief and sorrows experienced by so many whose lives
were indelibly altered for the worse by those who were simply in the
wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re interested, the details of
the Peru trip
and camping in Wyoming
are posted elsewhere. There are some images from other summer activities that are
worth recording and follow without (much) comment.
We hope you are well,
that you have counted the blessings you have received, and that you
will find a lesson or the appropriate response to this dark chapter
in our country’s history.
Machu Picchu Hiking Club.
Dan, Griffin, Julia, and Debra enjoying urban hike in Boulder.
Cindy, Michael, and Judy on a trail east of Steamboat Springs.
Hughes, Pat, Irene, Tom, Judy, and Lee at Jackson, Wyoming.
With Ann and Philip Bennett on the trail to Arapaho Pass.
A strangely dressed bagpiper entertained at our 40th Anniversary party!
Granite Creek C.G. in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton N.F.