Nostalgia: On the 15th Anniversary of 9/11

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If only I had known that I was growing up in the nineties while I was doing it. I remember being afraid of war as a child; my father fought in Vietnam, and I was told often by my mother that it had “changed” him in some mysterious ways. A precocious history student, I had read books about the Holocaust and the Russian Revolution. I had a haunting sense of what life during wartime might be like; it happened in a world that was like my own, but subtly off in the unheimlich way of a bad dream.

I must have assumed that we lived in a time past war, or else in one of those golden gaps in history where nothing especially horrible happens to anyone who looks like you for entire decades at a time. Had anyone told me that we were living a small sliver of a gap between the Cold War and the age of terrorism, my teenaged dreams for the future would have shaped themselves differently, I think.

I don’t know how long it was after 9/11 before I started wondering when it would be over. I just know that the early 2000’s would have been much worse for me if I had realized that my bedrock underlying assumption, that there was a time not too far off when it would be over, was entirely mistaken.

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North Carolina doesn’t deserve you.

Homesickness is a big problem for me this time of year. I don’t even mean the “holiday season” in general, but Thanksgiving specifically. I really, really liked Thanksgiving, growing up. It was a low-key holiday, no extra people, no traveling, just me and my dad watching ridiculous movies, like “A Beverley Hillbillies Thanksgiving”, while my mom cooked.

Wendell, North Carolina is particularly beautiful in late November. A friend from Canada who came to visit me there once said it was like an extra week of October for her. There are sunsets to die for and everything one could desire in the way of leaves. I miss it so much that, true to the cliche, it becomes a physical ache sometimes.

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(Downtown Wendell. It’s a small place so we only have the one gazebo.)

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