The day of September 11, 2001 was a long day. It started like any other day, until a little after 8 a.m. when one of the guys, who never raised his voice, yelled frantically for me to come in his office. There on his TV was the image of a burning World Trade Center (later I learned that his sister worked in that building and she had not yet arrived in the city when the attacks started). It was a gripping morning. At one point I went back to my desk to attempt to work, but no one was calling and work was pointless. As the day wore on I finally had to put on my distance glasses since I was watching so much TV, glued to the set was more like it.
One of my co-workers and I had signed up to take a quilting class in a neighboring town and we wondered if it had been cancelled. So we called the shop, they called the teacher and she said she would teach if anyone wanted to come. I debated about going since it just didn't seem respectful, plus my church was having a prayer vigil. I really should be going to church, I thought. But I went on to the quilt shop, and afterwards I knew it was the right place to be that night.
When we all arrived the first thing we did was hug each other, total strangers except for my co-worker and myself. Not the normal way to start a class. Then we discussed the events of the day and how exhausted and stressed we all felt. But we quickly fell to the task of choosing our fabrics and starting the class. The building we were in was built around the start of the 1900's and as we worked I felt those tired old walls speaking to me. They had seen bad times and uncertainty. Two world wars and other conflicts, the Great Depression, the assasination of a president, and other bad news had passed through the doors of that building. I felt the walls saying, "it's ok, we've seen trying times before and our country will survive this horror, too." I felt comfort in the squeaking old wood floors as I remembered the squeaks in my grandparent's floor. The boards age had given them a warm patina and I knew that those boards had had other shoes pass over them in times of trial and tragedy. I also felt comfort in touching the cotton fabrics. They were soft to my fingers and I knew that probably much of that cotton had been grown and ginned right here in our South.
While we worked we discussed the day and our emotions. We all agreed that God was watching over our nation and no matter what horror the next days might bring we would get through this. We all hugged again and left for our homes. I drove home, listening to the radio and hanging onto every detail, and I knew that that shop was the right place to have been that night. There was comfort there in that old building, with other women who shared a common bond of quilting, and I will never forget those feelings of reassurance. Everytime I look at the quilt that I started that night, I am reminded that it is my 9/11 quilt.