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Robin Stuart on: First Hearing About the Accident
Robin Stuart Q: How did you first hear something was amiss on that Wednesday?

RS: I didn't hear anything about it until Thursday morning. And it was a beautiful day, a very sunny, bright morning. My windows were open. My phone rang and my sister wanted to know where I was going. And I didn't know what she was talking about. I was flabbergasted. "What do you mean? What do you mean?" Everybody was in a panic and she was in a panic and there was no time to think. And since one had never thought about anything like that before, you know, your thoughts just were exploding. I mean it was fear being zapped at you. I don't remember a lot of exact thoughts. I remember feelings and images.

Q: What feelings and images?

RS: Well, I suppose the reality, the thought process was, "You're in deep trouble. We're in deep trouble. There's a disaster going on outside," but at the same time "How could there be?" The birds were singing. The sun was out. My curtains were flowing in the breeze. It was just too much to comprehend. It was far too much to comprehend. The news and the radio weren't telling us a lot of anything. I think they were trying to be helpful. In retrospect, I probably felt sorry for the broadcasters, but at the same time I was very desperately hungry for information and wanting to know what to do. I wanted to know what to think. I wanted to know what to feel. Anything would be better than what I was thinking and what I was feeling. I think I wanted reassurance and there wasn't any.

Q: Did you believe what information you were given?

RS: I remember something was wrong, something went wrong, something happened. Exactly what happened, I didn't know. My sister is calling from LA saying, "Get out. Get out. Hurry up and get out." And people around the country were calling and saying, "Get out of there. Hurry up and get out." And other people were saying, "Well, if we got it, we already got it." And the discussion on where the wind was and what did you get. It was so nebulous. There was just too much to think about it. And the same time you're gassing your car. You're trying to think of where you're going to go and make plans to go and you're worried about your neighbor. You're worried about your family, your siblings, your friends. There wasn't time to find out where everyone was going or how everyone was. There was so very little information.

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