My recollections of September 11, 2001 are still sharp in my memory, and ever will be.
At that time I was working with a select group of energetic girls who spent their days asleep, and their nights walking the well-lit and friendly streets of Chicago. I was handling their phone calls, keeping track of their whereabouts, and giving them what support I could. There were sometimes as many as 10 or 12 girls staying, off and on, at the house, and the fridge was generally opened. The stove too, and dishes had to be done. In exchange, the ladies had to obey a few simple rules, keeping everything “up there” and safe. No violence. No weapons, no trouble. You would be surprised how well it all worked out.When the girls were, as would occasionally happen, taken into custody by the local authorities, I was on hand in court for a little backup, and moral support. I’m not an unimpressive guy, and the girls were well schooled in their courtroom manners, and usually home that same evening.
On September 11, 2001, one of the girls – the sweetest to my way of thinking, and still a dear friend of mine – was due in court, Western and Belmont, if you know the area. I was there. My lovely friend never did appear, but that’s a separate matter.
On my arrival at about 8:45 AM I hadn’t heard a radio, nor had I seen a news report. I was therefore surprised at the uproar, the chaos, and the frenzy in the Chicago Courthouse. Everyone was beside himself. A bailiff told me that there had been some attacks from foreign powers. A world war might be in its earliest stages. “Everyone must go home!” he told me. “The jail cells will be open so that prisoners don’t perish with no hope to save themselves! The judges have left, going in all directions, so they won’t die en masse.” This all came as a surprise.
Moving back toward my Far North Side residence, I picked up various clues. The World Trade Center, a world hub I had once visited, had been attacked. The White House might soon be targeted.
Arriving home, the group of my friends in the living room was on their feet, watching stunned the televised coverage of the devastation. I told them what the bailiff had told me. We spent the day standing there. It was a day I won’t forget. We pray such a time won’t happen ever again.