Vicky Deletrain

I was prepping for class when a student who happened to be a recent immigrant from Pakistan, came into my class crying, she had heard on the radio that a plane had hit the first tower. She said her mom was sure it wasn’t an accident. I tried to reassure her that it probably was and sent her to her class with a hug. I turned on the tv in time to see the second plane fly into the second tower, on live tv. Now I was about to have a break down as my husband was on his way to work in that city and my brother was supposed to be flying home to that city and no one was answering their phones.

We were instructed to keep as calm as possible as we had many students who’s parents were working down there and we went on lock out. I was teaching a third grade class when another teacher came to my room and told me I needed to go to the office, my mother in law, who speaks no English and had just that weekend, returned to France, was calling. I ran as quickly as I could but it felt like slow motion, thinking the absolute worst. She was actually calling me to tell me that she had heard, indirectly, from someone who said Franck was on his way to pick up the girls at school. They asked her to call me because he wasn’t able to get through, he had been on the over pass waiting to get into the mid town tunnel, when he witnessed the entire thing, stuck with nowhere to go and no way to get out. He finally was able to turn around when they made the decision to lock down the city.

When I realized he was safe, I ran to the faculty bathroom and sobbed. After a few minutes, I washed my face and went back to my class and continued making art with my kids and reassuring those who’s parents weren’t showing up to pick them up early that everything was going to be fine. They couldn’t understand why everyone was leaving early. Only a few knew what had happened and most didn’t make the connection. When Franck got to my oldest daughter, she opted to stay at school and by the time he got to my youngest, who was 7, she was one of a handful still left at school and was not happy that he came to get her. Anxious kids love routine, this was out of her routine, dad NEVER came to school in the middle of the day. I can almost laugh about that now but I cried for months about it then.

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