Friday, September 15, 2017

16 years ago … but never forgotten.


On September first 2001 my dream of a lifetime began. My friend Douglas and I were on a plane leaving Newark and heading to Italy. He was a retired architect and a world traveler so it was a great treat for me to be able to tap into his expertise. I had planned the trip with the aid of an informative book entitled “Lodging in Italy’s Monasteries” and Douglas was happy to go along with that. (The picture above is where we lodged in Florence.)
On September 11th we'd spent the day in Assisi and returned late in the afternoon to our monastery in the small town of Bavagna. The first inkling that something was wrong was when the people in the Piazza called to us and pointed to their little bar/coffee shop/ice cream parlor, insisting that we go there. The shop boasted the only TV in the square and it was just recording the horrific events of 9/11.

I can hardly put into words how this affected us. We felt totally shocked and helpless. A nice couple from Canada took us to their hotel and we tried to make calls to our family members in the U.S., but it would be 4 days before we could get through. When we left them and returned to the piazza a nun was waiting for us. She was from the monastery where we were staying and she led the way to an ancient church in the center of the town where she unlocked the side door and beckoned us to enter.
The interior of the church was cool and musty and we were completely alone. It didn’t seem to matter that neither Douglas nor I practiced any type of formal religion. We sat quietly absorbing the atmosphere, each lost in our own thoughts, and in about an hour the little nun came back. We tried to show our appreciation although we knew very little Italian and it was hard to speak without crying. She kept nodding her head to show that she understood and then gave Douglas a pat on the back and me a warm hug.
Now it is 16 years later and that day still haunts me, as I know it does for so many others. It also reminds me of the compassion and love that were shown to us...not only by the townspeople of Bavagna, but from all the Italians that we encountered during our month’s stay in their wonderful country. It is a memory that I will cherish forever.




Blogger Marie Smith said...

You saw the good in humanity at that time too, Ginnie. It is a good memory to associate with that horrible time..

4:58 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Anvilcloud left this comment:

I found this post very moving, Ginnie.

(Sorry, AC, I did it again ... deleted it by mistake !!!)

5:03 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

It is comforting to know that people regardless of nationality, do band together in crisis.

10:02 AM  
Blogger possum said...

A very touching commentary on that day from a unique point of view.

I was in my classroom. During my planning period, I turned the TV on to prepare to post an architecture visual quiz for my next class. The TV was connected to the computer, but functioned as a TV also. I have no idea what channel was on, but whatever it was, the program was interrupted by the pictures of the planes hitting the Towers. Like millions of others, I was spell bound when I realized this was now, this was real. Somehow I managed to get my program set up for the kids with pictures of the pyramids, the Great Wall, the coliseum, etc showing up at random on the screen.
The sub that brought the class in to my room looked at me and asked if I was all right. I guess the horror at what I had just seen was obvious. She still, today, reminds me of my answer. "We are now at war. I am not sure who or why, but the war has started." Who'd believe 16 years later it continues.

I like your story of that day better than mine...
The pain is still there.

7:55 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

I was in the classroom with my 8th graders when the secretary called me to turn our TV on shortly thereafter another plane hit the second tower. As millions of other knew then it was now not an accident. I did my best to explain what I thought it all meant....

4:25 PM  

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