When 9/11 was just a date
Thursday, September 11, 1969
E called and asked if I would go with her to school to deliver the Baby P present. She and [her sister] A have rediscovered stamp collecting, and A was en route to the library to get a stamp catalog. Before we left, E scribbled a card for the present, a white teddy bear. E wrote Mazel Tov above the names and Best wishes for a good New Year on the bottom, though Mr. E doesn't seem too religious.
A deposited us at the school and gave us 17 minutes. Feeling very strange, we entered through the main doors. Classes were changing. We went down the familiar steps to the Guide Post office. It was funny realizing I hadn't been there in so long. On the door was a notice for a staff meeting. There was no one there. E scribbled a note to N, telling him to have the news copy for her or else, signing it "The Phantom News-editrix." I, with the red pen I still have, deleted "phantom" and wrote "and the ubiquitous red pen" [I was copy editor]. We leafed through typed copy, and I saw an article on Woodstock.
Back in the hall, we met Mr. L [my AP U.S. History teacher]. He greeted me and asked what I was doing in school. I just couldn't answer and stood there smiling so he filled in that I was just visiting, right? Yes, I said. He said I was going to Barnard, right, and I said yes. Now he must think me a dum-dum again [I got B's and struggled a bit in class, but managed to get a 5 on the AP].
We decided to go upstairs and find Mr. E. Mrs. K stood guard in the lobby and asked us for our passes. We stared at her dully and E finally said we were looking for Mr. E. She said she thought he was in the office, so we went in. He was there. He was surprised to see us, and looked delighted when he saw the package. He had to go, and said he guessed he'd see us around, as he sped down the hall. Probably en route to the bank.
We then went to see Mr. L [physics, which I never took]. He greeted us both by name. M [brilliant sophomore from my calc class, now a junior] was there. Mr. L asked where I was going; when I told him, he said that was a good school. M told us he was learning second year calculus himself, and an NYU professor was helping him on linear algebra. He is applying to colleges now; he really could have done it this year. He asked if I'd heard how our calc class did and I said that I didn't deserve to be lumped together with him and M2. I still can't think of him as human, only as some sort of fantastic robot [he went to Columbia undergrad, got a PhD in Math from Princeton and an MD from Harvard, and is in academic medicine].
It was longer than 17 minutes when we left. Mrs. K stopped us again and asked if we graduated. Then she got friendly and barraged us with questions about schools, housing, etc. A was leaning near a tree outside, and wrestled with E for being 10 minutes late. She saw the rabbi in the library, who cuts his hair more as kids' hair gets longer. As a result, he's near bald.
People were romping (gym class) on the field and I marveled at how things just go on. We got in the car, and saw a boy running toward the school. It was J. We knocked on the window, and he knelt down by the car so that only his head showed through the window. He was here to visit R, out on the field at the time, and wanted to catch him before his next class. This was his second time to the school.
[At night] I called [different] E. I told her I got the dorm and she said Miss K was there as an undergrad and liked it. She said to come over right then, and help bake. It was 10:30, but I was game. Mommy took me. P was there. He commented that the shortening, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour mixture was about the most fattening possible. I greased pans. The raw batter tasted great, and I succumbed to quite a few cookies too. E was surprised I lost 8 pounds (and gained them back NOW, I bet).