Just a couple quick thoughts regarding my nieces. I’ll start with my oldest niece, the same one who had an all-too-brief trip to Alaska this summer. She got into a little bit of an accident Sunday night. From what her mother (my little sister) and our mom told me, Em had been going a little too fast down a narrow road. She tried to make room for an oncoming car, but got a little too close to the shoulder, hit the shoulder and then a tree.
I know what you’re probably about to ask, so here are the answers: First, the truck Em was driving is headed to the scrap heap according to my Mom (Em’s mother hadn’t seen it when I talked to her Monday night). Second off, Em was wearing her seat belt; her mom taught well in that regard (she thinks things would’ve been much worse had she not, and I can’t help but agree). Speaking of teaching her well, there was no alcohol involved. What was involved, however, was a little heated argument between Em and her boyfriend. Em drove back home in a huff and… well, let’s just say it’s reason enough to heed the immortal words of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: “Don’t drive angry.”
When I heard of what happened, I wondered about how straight Em’s head was, literally and figuratively speaking, the day after the accident. I had my own accident with my car back when I was 23 years old and got a pretty stiff neck and a couple days of a feeling of shock. Em had a little scratch and a bruised nose the next day. But not only did she go to school on Monday, she went to work afterwards as well (her mom was her driver). I hope Em holds up well. I also hope Em has learned a lesson or two about being a careful driver.
Let’s drop the discussion of motor vehicles and bring up a timely excuse to empty another bookmark from my browser. Only this time the bookmark in question is very, very recent. It’s a story I came across NPR’s website about… uh, that day. You know the one, the very, very solemn anniversary we commemorated on Sunday. The NPR story, which you can read or listen to here, has to do with how to teach the historic significance of… you know, that day to children who weren’t even alive yet at that time.
I have four nieces. Em, at 17, is the oldest, and I’m not sure how she’s been taught about… that day, nor do I know if she even remembers it (she was only 2 years old at the time). My other nieces were born after… that day, including my second oldest niece, the one I also call my goddaughter. Though I don’t know how the others were taught about… you know, that day, I know she was taught about… that day a couple of ways. For one, when I made a quick trip to my mom’s while on my way to a class reunion, there was Mom with my goddaughter watching a DVD that CBS News put out about the events of… that day. Though I felt queasy about my niece watching such unsettling footage at so young an age (she was 10 at the time), Mom said she was learning about the day in question for school (she was sick from school that day, for the record). Well, she did have a class project about… that day sometime afterward, and when I visited her and her little sister for a quick little birthday party this weekend (both of their birthdays are this month), I saw the visual proof in her room: Stowed away on the top of her dresser in the corner of her bedroom is a rather simple diorama of the two towers that made up the World Trade Center… with a jet crashing into one of the towers. *sigh* I’m someone who has an unsettling feeling when seeing any images from… that day, so I have to avert my eyes from my niece’s project. But at least I recall she did earn a good grade from her diorama, as well as an understanding about… that day, which I’m sure was the point of the exercise.