September 2001


A Montage Reflected and Through the Windows of The Beachcomber


Undici Settembre - 
Learning to Live with the Sadness

Undici settembre - that's Italian for 11 September.  Italians put great significance on important dates. Every major city has roads named after historic dates.  Roads like Via XX Settember.

Every school child in America will know 11 September 2001 for every generation to come. 

We returned to Orcas just five days after 11 September, the darkest day in American history.  With over 6,400 missing or confirmed dead, it is the single highest fatality count in all of U.S. history.  Bigger than D-Day, bigger than Pearl Harbor, bigger than any battle in the Civil War when we were battering ourselves to death.  This time it wasn't young men in uniforms.  It was innocent civilians.  Just folks.  American folks going to work.  Big Wall Street tycoons.  Secretaries.  Window washers.  Shoeshine boys.  We were never supposed to experience this.  The Cold War taught us to duck under our desks when the sirens went off, and I guess, as kids we thought that it could happen. But, since the missiles were silenced we have been lulled into a euphoria of the promised land, never dreaming the terror of war could happen in our beloved New York City. Nor ever envisioning real-life heroes emerging from "Suits" traveling to San Francisco on United 93.

The horrors in our American life had previously been played out with mixed-up kids and their dad's guns.  However, they were never close enough to really effect us. Yes, Oklahoma City was horrific.  But somehow we mentally wrote it off as just one stupid jerk who took a bigger headcount than Charles Ng.  But this. We were so unprepared for how it would effect us so profoundly.  The image of those two mighty, gleaming towers crumbling on themselves is forever burned on our hearts.  America defiled.  Wounded deep.  Cutting through us and leaving us in shock, horror, anger, and grief and depositing us into a pit of sadness.  We just ached.  Ached for the families deprived of their loved ones.  Ached for destroyed icons. 

So Orcas seemed like the right thing.  It would get us back on an airplane right away.  We could escape the constant stream of  wretched images and relax with friends in one of the most serene environments in the world.  

Orcas was, indeed, a marvelous respite, but, alas, it proved to be only a lull.  I am afraid, we are going to have to learn to live in this new world with its ghastly images and its anxiety over the next dropping shoe.   But in the end, it is friends and family that really matter.  It is the precious moments we spend with them that gives joy and comfort, and undici settembre has taught us just how precious those moments really are.  So, here are a few comforting images of dear friends sharing some very precious moments, at what has become for us our Ameircan Serenissima, Orcas Island. 




Mike Enjoying the Serenity

MG: Mary Grace, Mike's Gracious Mom


Leslie Prepared a Nice Surprise Birthday Party for Kris, 
which Made Her Giggly


Mike's Wife: Leslie with her Pretty Smile

Jane Making a Point


Chuck Basking in the Sunset

Kris and Chuck with Smiles


Diana in a Quiet Moment
(Actually, squelching a yawn)

The Table is Set Beneith the Setting Sun


Blending the Delicious Soup

As hard as we tried to stay isolated,
we couldn't resist devouring the N.Y. Times with it's
Science Sunday analysis of the structural damage to the
World Trade Center

Which is No More.