Reflecting on 7/7
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London. After viewing so many messages of London love, support, courage and pain, I asked myself the question: “Where were you that day?” Here’s my answer:
My husband and I had moved back to London in April, just a few months before. We had lived here 2 years earlier, and luckily we had both been offered jobs to come back. We love London, and while we are both from Texas, this city feels most comfortable to us. I was working as a Marketing Manager for a sports media company (which would end three years later -- and teach me that life is too short to work for people who treat you like crap!) That morning, I was scheduled to go to QPR - Queen’s Park Rangers Stadium to talk about some sports media. I was meeting a colleague (what was his name? Tim? Nick? clearly I have wiped it from memory) My nearest station was Westminster, and I remember getting there and having to take a bus instead of the tube. I got to my meeting in plenty of time, but during the meeting we were aware of what had happened.
I had been a flight attendant, and on 9/11 I was on the 43rd floor of the Continental Airlines Headquarters in Houston, on the phone with colleagues in Newark who were reporting American Airlines flights missing. My reaction to the bombings in London were worry, but not fear. My main concern was getting home safely and letting my loved ones know I was fine. We finished our meeting, and my colleague lived in Fulham. We went there, watched a bit of news to see what the situation was around town, and then I was determined to get home.
It’s only been 10 years, I keep telling myself today, but so much has changed. I had a really limited Sony Ericsson phone (not a smart phone, just a normal dial phone that had a very limited plan on it). There was no social media (at least, I wasn’t on it). I remember the phone lines were really hard to get through, but I managed to speak to my husband and let him know I was fine and I would either take a taxi or walk home. I remember calling my Dad in Houston and my Mom in Sherman to tell them I was fine.
Then I remember walking. For three hours. I carried around a London A-Z in those days, as Google Maps hadn’t been invented yet. I was navigating with the knowledge that the sun was in the sky and the A-Z was getting me from street to street. I made it to King’s Road, and although I was not wanting to pay for it, I searched the street for a taxi. None were available, and I can only imagine what they would charge. So I kept walking. I knew I would make it home eventually. But I was already home...London!