In September of 2001, I was a month away from my sons birth, very pregnant, and it was that time of year where everywhere in Southern California becomes extraordinarily hot. Even here at the beach. Fires start. And people get testy. Id finished my year long work odyssey as girl-friday at Lookout Management, working for Elliot Roberts (Neil Youngs manager) and Bonnie Levetin. I said my goodbyes in early August and now I was in flight loop, waiting for my time to touch down on the tarmac of motherhood.
It was a simple, fine time. My husband Paul and I were in a good place, happy and even thrilled at the prospects of our new life as parents. Paul had been in his early/mid twenties when he'd had his first kids and he admitted he could have been a better dad. So he was going to therapy and working out his various parenting issues.
My songwriter-photographer friend Kim Fox came to visit from LA one day and despite me feeling uncomfortably pregnant, talked me into a photo session. This, rock and roll mama, is a photo of her photo, sorry Kim for the low-fi. It was fun hanging out with my LA pal and I kept trying to figure out how I would find my way back someday into writing music, touring and releasing albums. It was a time I'll call 'void of course'. And there was a certain amount of calm and non-goal seeking in those xanax-like days. Those natural pre-birth hormones were a good drug.
A few days later I was awoken by Paul who said that his ex wife Donna had called and told him a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was 'this is it', as Id been in New York when the bomb had gone off in the WTC parking garage in 1993. I knew it was a target. We didn't have TV so I had the rattle in my head as I drove to a doctors appointment and listened in on the radio.
The TV's were on full blast in several corners of the OB/GYN offices at Kaiser. I had an appointment for a "Stress Test" to check and see if the baby was faring well. You see Id been tagged as a late pregnancy Gestational Diabetic, which meant I checked my blood sugar 3x a day, with a poke of a needle, and I came in twice a week for these baby Stress Tests. Its essentially honking a big horn into your torso and see if the baby freaks out and moves around. If they move around they are alive and kicking and all is well. But after watching both towers fall I wondered outloud if we needed to freak the baby out too.
I bought the Springsteen album a few weeks later. I didn't listen to it, but I put it by the Bose player with the intention of listening 'when Im ready'. I never became ready. Somewhere that album is around here, unopened.
It was hard to not think about what had happened. I thought of all my friends living on the Lower East Side. I thought of the temp work Id done for a savings and loan on Wall Street some years earlier. The dust my friends were living in. But through all the thinking I had the 'good drugs' of pre birth swimming around in my system, and the Oxytocin was calming. So was the sound of the sea on my walk every morning. And there was this hope, a brand new life was coming into the world. Nothing would ever be the same.
Alexander was born October 16th 2001.
(Encinitas, Sept. 12, 2017)