It was a perfect fall day in Virginia and I headed out first thing in the morning to get everything squared away to start subbing (just as soon as my papers came!!!) I was in the office of Kling Elementary chatting with the secretary (as the principal, Ms. Cash, was unavailable) when I heard in the background something about a bomb and the world trade center. I said, “is this a rerun?” I had never heard of news reruns on the radio but I was pretty sure the World Trade Center bombing had been several years ago. The secretary hadn’t been listening, and didn’t know.
My next stop was in the school district office where our discussion of the application process stopped when we all crowded around the television in the other room as the newscasters told of pandemonium in DC and how they suspected that the capitol building would be next. “My sister-in-law works at the capitol,” I said, beginning to understand the heaviness of the day.
I hurried home. Paperwork could wait. I tried to collect what I knew from the radio on the drive back, and ran into the apartment screaming, “Paul!” Over the noise of the shower he heard the tale and said, “I hope they catch Osama.” I knew nothing of Osama and explained that they didn’t know who was responsible.
We called our families to assure them we were three hours from the nearest carnage. It was in conversation with my father that I learned of the suspected fifth plane that had landed in Whitehorse.
When Paul’s classes were over we went to WalMart to watch the footage, and then to Applebee’s for supper, to watch the same footage over and over. (We didn’t have a television at the time. Is it okay to admit that in public?)
The story of my work permit is long and complicated, but it officially begins on September 11th, 2001, when the DC Immigration Office accepted my papers for processing.