Maureen Riordan

I remember thinking how vividly blue the sky was that morning as I pulled my minivan out of the driveway of our home that backed up to the Ogonowski Farm in Dracut, Massachusetts. I remember singing along to the kid’s songs that played on my CD player with my twin almost three year old daughters as we took the short drive to their home daycare before I started my school day with my still new to me first graders. On that short drive I remember being so happy and thinking that this was going to be a good day! While the students were eating snack, I asked another teacher to briefly watch my room while I ran to the bathroom. There I saw the remedial reading teacher and the special ed teacher huddled by a radio and they called me over and told me what happened. Shortly after that we got word from our principal that we were going to be sending the children home early and instructed that we could NOT tell them why. This was confusing to children to be sent home on a beautiful autumn day without explanation and I was frustrated that we could not tell them anything. I had experienced this same frustration before when the Challenger exploded and we were also not allowed to discuss it with the children. I was also worried about my husband who worked in high tech in a building next to Raytheon, which made the missiles for the war and could be considered a target. With no cell phones, I tried to reach him by landline and was unsuccessful. As soon as school was over, I raced to the daycare. I wanted desperately to hug by babies and get them home. The daycare provider greeted me at the door with the news that the pilot of the first plane to hit the towers was my neighbor, Captain John Ogonowski. This was too close to home! It was no longer something far away in New York any longer. As I pulled into my street, I saw neighbors waiting to grab their elementary school aged children from the school bus. I pulled the van over and we hugged and cried. I confessed that I had never actually met John but he was the friendly farmer who waved to my daughters as rode his tractor down the street when he wasn’t flying jets. They said none of them had actually met John either but we all still felt the loss of this small part of our lives that we took for granted. Since that day, when the sky is bright blue, I get a wee bit nervous that something dramatic could change our world again.

1 Comment

  1. “Since that day, when the sky is bright blue, I get a wee bit nervous that something dramatic could change our world again.”

    oh yes.

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