Agnes has begun a series of stories and anecdotes about the seven mantises she and her sisters have kept as pets during the past year. Please take a look at The Mantis Diaries, Part 1.
By the way, this is one of my favorite pictures ever. Please click on the thumbnail within the post for a better view of Maureen admiring the flora and fauna inside our house.
Six-year-old Marie was a busy girl yesterday. She spent at least a half hour making and selling tickets to her brother and sisters. The event? A chance to glimpse their own baby sister. For the price of one ticket, the children were allowed to line up near the bassinet and take a peek. Surprisingly, these tickets sold out. My children, apparently, are big fans of the new baby--groupies even. Marie even managed to convince me to buy one. This was quite a feat considering I was nursing the baby as she sold it to me, giving me the best possible seat in the house.
A day or two after September 11th, my daughters dictated these impressions of the tragedy to me. As young as they were, it was a day that neither one of them will ever forget.
Seven year old Agnes' account of Tuesday's events:
One day I woke up. I was happy because it was a nice, sunny day, and
Mommy said we were going to a place that was a surprise. The cleaning lady
was coming, and I like the cleaning lady a lot. I had no piano lessons,
which gave me a lot of time to practice (even though I like piano lessons).
We were hanging around the storytime room after we had gotten dressed, and
Mommy switched on the TV. It was the news. The picture on the screen was a
picture of a large building with smoke billowing out the windows.
After Mommy had watched a little of the news, she told us to go out. I
understood why, because sometimes, when there is news that is not for kids,
she tells us to go out. After a little while, I decided I would play with
Theresa, so I went to our room (which Theresa and I like to hang around in). I
found her sitting on the bed crying, so I asked her what was the matter.
She explained to me that both Twin Towers had gotten knocked down. Back
then, I didn't know what a big deal it all was, so I said to her, "Don't cry
Theresa. Actually, it's interesting."
"But I loved the Twin Towers so much," Theresa sobbed.
"I'm sure they'll be building the Twin Towers up again," I told her.
"Yes," said Theresa, "but when? They won't be able to build them back up
until the smoke stops coming out!"
"Don't worry," I said, "I'm sure the firefighters will put it out."
"But it was too hot even for the firefighters," said Theresa.
I still wasn't worried--I knew the smoke would have to stop coming out
Then Mommy called us because she said we were going to Dunkin Donuts.
Theresa and I came thundering down the stairs and hopped into the car as soon
as the door was open. We were both pretty sure that after we had gone to
Dunkin Donuts we would go to the surprise place. After Dunkin Donuts, we
started driving home. "Why aren't we going to the surprise place?" I asked.
"Well," said Mommy, "I'm very sorry, but I'm too worried about Daddy. We'll
go to the surprise place very soon." I started crying, but Mommy said I
shouldn't be crying when we had to go home, so I stopped.
I soon found out how awful it was about the Twin Towers. Daddy almost
had to stay at his friend's apartment, but in the end, he called and said he
was at the train station and would be home that very day. Mommy was so
happy that we all went outside and put up an American flag. Everybody had
one. Everyone had put one up that day. We sat down on the front steps to
wait for Daddy. All of a sudden, the front door opened at my friend
Kristin's house. I went to the edge of the street and told Kristin that my
Dad worked in Manhattan. "My Dad works in Manhattan too," said Kristin,
"Luckily he wasn't hurt!" Patrick, Kristin's big brother, said, "We're very
lucky that he wasn't." After a little while, Kristin's mother came out, and
I told her that my father worked in Manhattan, but he was coming home today.
Kristin's mother said, "Yes, and here he comes right now!" I looked in the
direction she was looking, and, sure enough, Daddy was walking down the
sidewalk right near our house. We all greeted him, and after a while, we
went into the house.
As it turns out, a plane had crashed into the Pentagon too that day.
That night, we went to a special Mass to pray for the people
who had died. After Mass, we played with our friends, the O'Sullivans,
while all the adults talked. It was very unusual to be coming out of church
at that time, because it was so late.
A few days later, we went to the gardens, and I wrote a story about it,
and it was this story.
Six year old Theresa's account of Tuesday's events:
A few days after my sixth birthday, there was a plane crash. It crashed
right into the Twin Towers. Everybody thought it was an accident. Then
another plane crashed into the other Tower, and everyone knew that it wasn't
an accident. Then there were two explosions. They were similar, but not
exactly the same. One was red, and one was gray. I'm not sure which one
was worse, but I know the worst part about it was that both towers fell
At first I thought they were just ordinary buildings, but they weren't.
They were the Twin Towers. The way I found out was this--my Mommy called my
Daddy on the telephone. He knew that one of the Twin Towers had fallen
down, but Mommy told him that both Twin Towers fell down. I heard it, so I
started crying. "What's the matter?" asked Mommy. "I liked the Twin
Towers," I said. Mommy tried to comfort me. "They'll build them back up
again." "But when?" I asked, "when the smoke stops coming out?" "I'm not
sure," said Mommy.
I went into my room and went to lie down on my bed. I lay down on my
bed, and the cleaning woman came in. She asked me what was the matter, and
I told her. She said, "Don't cry." That cheered me up a bit. I wiped my
eyes and went back in the storytime room to watch more TV. Then I went back
in my room and sat on my bed. My sister Agnes came in. She asked what was
the matter, and I explained to her that both Twin Towers fell down. "Don't
worry Theresa," she said.
Then Mommy said it was time to go to Dunkin Donuts, so we ran down the
stairs. After we ate our bagels, I asked, "Why didn't we go to the surprise
place?" "I'm sorry honey, but I need to stay home so I can find out what is
going on in Manhattan, at least until Daddy calls again." Mommy was glued
to the TV, so we had to stay inside. Then Daddy called from the train and
said that he had gotten to our town and was going to be home very soon.
Mommy hung up the phone, and we all ran outside. I went to talk to Mrs.
C, my friend Kristin's mother. Then Mrs. C said, "There's your
Dad right now!" I ran over as fast as I could and hugged him. We played
outside for a while. Then I went in, and we ordered Italian food from the
After dinner, we went to a special Mass because the Twin Towers and the
Pentagon had fallen down. I played with my friends, the O'Sullivans.
Then we went back home, got into our pajamas and went to bed.
He graduated from St. Mary's School in 1981, the year the American Hostages were freed from Iran and Ronald Reagan took office. There he remains in the distant reaches of my memory, a school boy like so many others, tall and lanky with a freckled face that would have seemed as at home by a turf fire in Erin as it was on that paved school yard in Queens.
On this the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks upon our country, please pray for the repose of the soul of my grammar school classmate, Gerry O'Leary. Although I did not know him well, the story of his death and that of his brother-in-law moved me deeply. May God hold Gerry and Robert in the palm of His hand and comfort their wives and families.