I was working as a waitress on the morning of September 11, 2001 at the Pike Restaurant in Spring House, Penn. We had a lot of "regulars" who came in each morning for breakfast. There was a radio on in the kitchen and the servers and cooks and staff all heard the announcement about a plane flying into the World Trade Center.
I thought as most of us did that it was a tragic accident. We informed our customers as we took their orders or served their food. Fifteen minutes or so later, we heard the report that another plane had hit the other World Trade Center tower. Now we were all suspicious that this was a planned action.
We let our customers know about this new development. The whole restaurant was abuzz with curiosity and concern. A palpable feeling of common fearful emotions filled the air. We all felt united.
Then I overheard a phone conversation taking place at the register with the host (who was also one of the owners) and our 11 a.m. waitress. "What? Terrorists did this?" he exclaimed out loud. It seemed to confirm all of our suspicions.
We all just kept working and listening to the radio and each time something new would happen we would tell our patrons: "A plane just crashed into the Pentagon." "A plane crashed in Penn. that was headed for the White House." "The South Tower came down." "The North Tower just crashed." "All flights have been suspended." "All sports events have been cancelled."
It was a distressing morning to say the least. At one point it seemed to me that the whole world was ending like it was Armageddon. It was quite frightening. The full impact of the events did not really hit me until much later when I was home after work.
At the Pike, we all did not quite know how to react or what to do. Bobby, the dishwasher said to me: "We're going to war, Joanie." That made me even more depressed because I knew he was right. I lived through the War in Vietnam and know how that tore this country apart. I was afraid of the damage that a long protracted war would do to us economically and emotionally.
Turns out my fears were justified. I was hoping for a quick strike and resolution, but we are still involved in two seemingly unending wars many destroyed lives and years later. There was not strong public opposition to fighting as there was in the Vietnam days, maybe because of the revenge and fear factor and the lack of a military draft, but there has been a high cost to our country morally and financially.
September 10, 2001 seems now like an idyllic, innocent time or "the good ole days" of peace and prosperity and breakfast at the Pike. The morning of September 11, 2001 changed all of that.
The Pike Restaurant has since been sold to a developer who was going to tear it down and create a mini-mall at its location. The building is still standing unoccupied, perhaps because of the financial difficulties many businesses are now facing.
The regulars have found other places to eat breakfast and the staff have found new jobs. I still have dreams of being back working at the Pike. It was like a second family to me, a family that will always represent a slice of Americana and remind me of how we shared that eventful, life altering, fateful fall day.