Miriam Palm: Return from Montana


I was with my husband and his family -- mother Laura Palm (who was about to turn 91 -- she will be 101 this coming Sept. 14), sister, brother, and brother's wife, in Glacier National Park in Mont. The family is from Chinook, Mont.

We had stayed at Lake McDonald on the western side of the park Sept. 10. In the morning, my husband's sister rapped on the door of our cabin to tell us the news. My husband's brother and his wife, who were from Nutley, N.J., were frantic because their son, who worked in Chicago for Lehman Brothers, had been in New York for a meeting the previous day, and they were unable to reach him. I remember them glued to the TV in the lodge and that none of us felt like eating, even after we found out my nephew was OK -- he had returned to his home in Chicago the previous evening.

We decided to continue on our vacation and drove over the Going To The Sun Road through the park. When we reached the summit, people were saying that the border with Canada had been closed -- a challenge for the many Canadian tourists in the park. We stayed in St. Mary's on the east side that evening and then drove back to Chinook, about 200 miles to the east.

My husband and I had taken Amtrak from Seattle to Havre, Mont., and returned the same route 10 days later. There were many police and border patrol officers at the stations and walking through the train. We encountered the first strict airline security at the Seattle airport and had things taken away from us we had no idea were now "contraband," including cuticle scissors.

A friend in Palo Alto was on his way home from Europe on Sept. 10 -- he was booked on the Sept. 11 Newark-San Francisco flight that was downed but decided to take an earlier flight to get home sooner. Happily, he is still with us.

I think people living on the East Coast were much more directly affected. A friend from Darien, Conn., was unable to make contact with her husband, who was in Washington, D.C., for a meeting. He walked many blocks to a car rental outlet, hooked up with people he had never met, and they all drove north to get home. When he walked into his house 12 hours later, his wife was so relieved! They lost neighbors in the Twin Towers that day.

Miriam Palm

Waverley Street

Palo Alto

Return to Sept. 11 remembered

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