Where were you?
I was 9, almost 10; an excited 4th grader who was almost double digits.
I was one of the first kids pulled from school, so when I was called to the main office to go home with my mom for an “appointment” I was confused but giddy about the unexpected day off. Me and a few other neighborhood kids walked home with our parents, who told us at first that we were having a spontaneous continuation of the block party we had the previous weekend.
Skipping home, one of my neighbors ran up and told me that her dad had just told her what really happened. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!” Used to hearing them referred to as the Twin Towers, I had to ask what the World Trade Center was.
It’s funny how that part is so vivid, but honestly, the rest of the day was a blur as my 9 year old brain tried to comprehend the weight of the tragedy of what was unfolding. I remember the TV being on for hours. I remember my mom beginning to cry, spurring me to do the same really because I hated (as I still do) to see her upset. I think the first moment that I began to grasp the devastation was the first glimpse I caught of my father’s face when he made it home from the city late that afternoon (he still won’t talk about that day).
I owe so much to a decision that my mother made that day: to take my siblings and I on a hike that took us to the highest viewpoint of all the trails in the park near our home; a view that, on such a crystal clear day as that Tuesday, would all but guarantee a perfect Manhattan skyline, the Towers always the easiest to make out. Instead, nothing but haze and smoky plumes. Another parent might have wanted to shield their children from such a view, but my mom understood that by having us witness it, no matter how far away, with our own eyes, we would never, ever forget just how terrible that day was and what and who were lost. From that clear memory, my understanding of it has never waned. Pulling from a 9 year old’s mind, I think that’s pretty amazing. And since then, I’ve made it a tradition to make that trek every year.
Life goes on, and we have rebuilt the city and ourselves. But regardless, we can never forget. I know I will never ever let myself.
In the meantime, we can continue to make new, beautiful memories with our families and loved ones, because these memories are the ones that help us to heal, and we know now that we can’t afford to waste a second.
Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup rolled oats
2/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter, softened
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and oats in a large bowl. Add the butter, one bit at a time, and combine with a pastry cutter or by hand until fine crumbs start to combine a little.
Add the soymilk and extracts, and combine. Add the white chocolate and cranberries and combine until evenly distributed. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, until edges are very slightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling racks.