This Was a Real Nice Clambake

When in Rome…

I hit the part of Maine yesterday where my buddies live, so instead of posting, I visited friends on Boothbay and Arrowsic islands and had a splendid ride in the latter two’s newly-acquired, perfectly practical boat:


There may have been cocktails.

So much of this part of Route 1 gets clogged with tourists from Memorial to Labor Day, and when I go up in season, I try to avoid traveling on it as much as possible. After 18 months of relative seclusion, however, I found the moderate tie-ups yesterday to be something of a relief — a signal that maybe things were returning to normal, even this second week of September.

But it’s not normal. Today is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and I am approaching the geographical center of this still painful disaster. I tried to avoid coverage of the anniversary, but it’s impossible to drive through this section of Connecticut without being reminded of what these communities went through; what we all went through.

Right now, for example, I am tormenting myself by watching the History Channel’s replay of the day and it’s all terrible and indelible and I remember. I had just come home from a conference in Newark for my new job with Catholic Charities. I still had pictures in my camera of an outing with colleagues at Ellis Island with the Towers in the background — September 10. The next morning I was home in Alexandria, Virginia, sleeping late on the comp day when my partner called to tell me to turn the TV on and see if I could get in touch with my sister in Brooklyn to see if she and her family were OK. It would be a while before I found that out, but while I tried to reach her, I heard the sirens from all directions converging on what turned out to be a conflagration at the Pentagon just a few miles from our house.

Tomorrow I’ll be driving through the parts of Connecticut and New York where many of the first responders and their families lived and where, I am both sorry and proud to say, Catholic Charities had much to do over the ensuing months.


I am glad I got to spend some time with friends yesterday and with my excellent uncle and aunt in Providence today. Such a beautiful day.

Ambient References

The Legal Repercussions of the War on Terror, Slate, [podcast], September 10, 2o21.

The Know-Nothings Menace: When Hate, Fear, and Prejudice Ruled Maine and America, Maine Historical Society, [podcast], August 19, 2021.

Author: Beth Daniels

DC writer | Old movies. Old Washington. Any old thing.

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