If you build it, they will come.

On this day, 9/11, I know I am joined by millions who will be remembering the shock and grief of that day ten years ago when our world was forever changed.

It was a Tuesday, and quite a lovely day in Chicago.  I had a small condo in the city and had walked to work that day.  I arrived at the office a little late, and was surprised to see that no one was in their regular place at the office.  In fact, everyone was gathered in our bar area.  They were all standing quietly, watching the television.

The day before, we had been at a company picnic, so I assumed everyone was looking at the pictures from that happy event.  I walked into the bar to share in the fun.

What I saw that day forever changed everything.

I called my husband, who was heading back to our summer home.  He didn’t have the radio on, so had no idea what was happening.  I remember telling him that the world was coming to an end.  That’s how I felt.

We all have a shared consciousness of these events, and each of us has a unique personal memory of this day.  I am not going to relate all of my feelings of that day or the days that followed.  I know you understand.

Weeks after 9/11, I called my husband.

“We need to build a home.   It needs to be big enough for all of our family to come together.”

And that’s just what we did.  It took some time for us to find the right spot, but we finally found the perfect place to build and proceeded to create a home that would accommodate our ever-growing family.  I wanted a house that was big enough so when our family or friends came to visit, they would have their own bed and I wanted large areas for us to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

Mr. H. agreed.  He was the General Contractor and spent a year crafting our home.

My Dad called it the Road House.  Our neighbors lovingly call it the Hotel.  I call it a Farm House on steroids.  But, while it is big, it isn’t fancy.  We don’t have granite or tile or fancy woodwork.  We bought our ceiling fans in bulk and have trundle beds in the bedrooms.  For us, it is exactly the home we need.

We have had family reunions, weddings and team building events for work. We have entertained (and been entertained by) neighbors, friends and family. We have had several weeks of Camp Grandmama and Grampy Campy.  We were able to bring both my Mom and my Dad to this home for their last days, to spend them surrounded by friends and family.

The terrible events of 9/11 changed us all.  For us, it become more important than ever to focus on family and friends.  We don’t live close to our family, but building this home was the best thing we could do to assure that we continued to keep our family close to our heart.

I remember our first Thanksgiving in our new home.  We had just moved in a week before Thanksgiving, but we had a houseful for that first holiday in our new home.

My brother, Ralph, raised his glass for a toast and said “If you build it, we will come”.   And come they did.

Most of our immediate family at my Mom and Dad's 60th Anniversary Party.


I would love to hear from you.  I would love to hear how 9/11 changed your life and your perspective.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of everyone who lost their life.




Category: Memories and Traditions
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(1) Comment and (1) Reply

  1. Laurie | September 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply

    For me that day was an eye opener as far as how quickly life can change in an instant. I have lost to car accidents & health reasons , but for some reason this hit me hard. Listening to the phone calls made by the people on the planes to their loved ones, and the desperation of the people looking for their loved ones at the Trade center was heartbreaking and to watch and listen to. I found myself trying to imagine what they had to be going through, I’m sure I never even come close.

    I was at work that morning when a co-worker called and told us to put the TV on, that the Trade Center had been hit, I asked why someone would hit the Trade Center in Middleton and she said no the one in NY. We turned the TV on, and shortly after we did we watched as the 2nd plane hit tower 2. Three of us stood there in disbelief, not knowing what was going on, or that it was a Terrorist attack until the Pentagon was hit. My first instinct was to leave work and go and get my kids from school, if it was going to be the end, I wanted my family together. I did not leave work that day, perhaps then it would have been real.

    Whenever I see footage, and especially this last week, you relive every moment of that day just like it was yesterday, it doesn’t seem possible at all that it’s been 10 years.

    How has it changed me? I take in each moment with family and friends MORE now, loving and appreciating every second you get with them, because in a split second, we saw how quickly life can change.

    • jill | September 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply

      Beautifully said. Thank you so much for sharing. It sure makes us realize how fragile this life is and how important love is for all of us.

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