Pauline L. Hawkins was born in Munson Army Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on Easter Sunday. Pauline has been in the health insurance industry for almost thirty years, working her way up from the mailroom to corporate management and claims payment. In 2002, Pauline received her Instructional Design certification, which allows her to create instructor-led and learner-paced training curricula, along with computer-based learning activities and website creation. Pauline has enjoyed writing since she was in high school, and has decided to start sharing her stories. Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down is her debut book.
You can visit Pauline L. Hawkins’ website at http://paulinelhawkins.com.
Initially when I sat down to write it was to deal with my own grief of 9/11. My actual expectation was simply to put a few words down on paper to work through my own grieving process. It may sound strange, but I find writing down my feelings and thoughts when I’m sad, angry or whatever the emotion helps me work through them. I don’t know if it helps me organize my feelings or simply look at how unrealistic they may be or what. I truly never set out to write a book. But, I soon found out that the more I wrote, the more I had to write. Once I started writing, it was as though the emotional floodgates opened, and all the memories came back – memories that beckoned to be put on paper.
Where were you on 9/11?
When I heard the initial reports about the attacks I was sitting in my car driving to work. It was just like every other day when the initial reports started about a plane hitting the Tower. I was so unbelievable that everyone thought it was a hoax, even the guys reporting the information on the radio.
How did 9/11 change your life?
I lost my security that day. I think prior to 9/11 I actually thought that as long as I was in the United States I was safe. For a while I even felt like I’d lost control of my own life. I’m not sure how much control any of us actually has over our lives but prior to 9/11 I think I was crazy enough to think I had control.
Do you believe the President handled the crisis effectively?
Well if I’m completely honest I never was a George W. Bush fan. However, with the news conferences he held and the things he did in the days and even months following 9/11 I felt he did a great job of rallying the country together. He made sure the government still functioned and I think he did a pretty good job of managing the situation. However, as time went on I think the War on Terror actually became his own initiative to catch Hassan Hussein.
How do you think America has changed as a whole?
I think we’ve become very suspicious of everyone. We spend so much time on heightened alert watching out for suspicious activities that we don’t trust anyone including our neighbors. We have a new word in our vocabulary known as off-shoring and our economy has gone in the toilet and our unemployment rate is skyrocketing.
How do you think the whole situation could have been avoided or will we never be able to answer that question?
I don’t know if the whole situation could have been avoided or not. Could more have been done, maybe. Would it have been enough, I don’t know.
Can you give us an excerpt from your book?
Yes I do, it’s from the final chapter of the book –
“Where Were You on 9/11?”
That question has become part of the fabric of our lives as Americans. On 9/11 when the first plane hit, I was driving to work. On that bright sunny day, none of us had any idea what was in store and how it would change our lives. New York City firefighters, police, and other first responders dropped what they were doing, kissed their wives and children goodbye, and headed for Ground Zero. They did this without question and without thought for their safety, not knowing that many of them would never see their families again. These men and women had taken a pledge to protect their city and their fellow man, and for them this was more than just a job; it was who they were. They gave of themselves, and in some cases gave their lives, selflessly and without question.
There are still those first responders today who ask themselves, “Why them and not me?” However, as we all know, there are many questions in life that do not have an answer. There is no rhyme or reason as to the events of 9/11, the deaths of those who died in the actual attacks and the deaths of those providing search and rescue. What we do know is that the heroes lost that day would have done nothing different. Had they known that their efforts would have cost them their lives, they still would have suited up and shown up, if it meant saving a single life. That was the cause to which they had devoted themselves.
Now that Ashes to Ashes the Twins Fall Down has been published, what’s your next project?
The book’s title is Always & Forever. It’s the story of getting back in touch with my high school sweetheart after 28 years and marrying him and having a breakdown that cost me my marriage within six days of my wedding.
Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers that haven’t been discussed?
I hope readers will feel what I felt as I wrote this book. The feelings provoked were very emotional. Ashes, Ashes The Twins Fall Down will make you cry, it will make you laugh, and it will make you remember. In this book i have not only shared my personal experiences surrounding that day but I have also shared transcripts received from the hijacked planes. I have also included the personal story of a co-worker of mine returning to the U.S. from her anniversary trip only to have her plane rerouted to an airplane hanger outside of the United States where she spent a week. The readers of this book will come away both enlightened and comforted.