Every once in a while someone will ask if everything is quiet in the neighborhood now that the crash is cleaned up. I just sigh and say it might be out of the news, but in our neighborhood, the plane crash is still an active, living creature.
The plane pieces were all gone by the time we arrived home after a long weekend in Lexington KY. I kept passing the site looking for signs of the crash. Other than the candle/flower/ribbon memorial, you'd never know anything happened. Of course, I didn't realize then what was about to happen.
For days after the crash our block was busy with what I called "crash tourists." People kept driving around trying to figure out where the crash happened. We always knew which cars were crash tourists as they drove very slowly, like they were searching for what they saw on the news. Sometimes these people just wanted to see the site. Sometimes they got out of their cars like they were exploring something interesting. At some point the neighbor closest to the crash site put up "private property" signs around his yard. His house was the one everyone saw on the news, with the destroyed Cadillac SUV in the driveway. People started wandering the closest yards like they were on a sightseeing tour.
Every few days there was activity at the plane crash site. Mostly there were investigators doing their jobs. We never asked what they were doing. We knew they were there because police cars would position themselves at either end of the block. As soon as we saw a police car, we knew we had to go around the block.
One afternoon, about a week after the crash, Daddy and I were standing at the school pick-up corner with Holly. All of a sudden ambulances and other official vehicles drove down the block. A police vehicle positioned itself at the corner. The block was off-limits again. This time we had a sick feeling. If there were ambulances, it meant they were still looking for human remains.
Another day Daddy came back from walking Holly to report that there were officials doing a grid search at the site. He said there were a lot of official vehicles. I looked outside and saw a police car at the end of our block.
The next day we heard some strange noises from the crash site. Daddy walked down to find workers cutting down all the trees near the accident. The next day we saw that the house closest to the crash didn't have any landscaping. I learned later that workers in protective gear took every tree, bush and plant. Since materials from the plane and passengers were spread across a large area, everything was considered a biohazard.
We had a Mother/Daughter event at the girls' school the same morning that the landscaping was being removed. Daddy walked to the corner to ask the police to let Grammie come to our house. Everyone else had to show an identification card, but they just waved Grammie through. It probably helped that they could see her pull into our driveway from the corner.
We thought it was all done, but we then had more activity. A week after all the landscaping was removed, there was equipment working at the site again. This time they were removing all the grass and the top layer of soil. It turned out the grass was all considered a biohazard as well. The next day there were flatbed trucks with new sod ready to replace the missing grass.
I'm certainly not complaining about the work or the inconvenience. The plane crash was a terrible tragedy. It was just interesting to see what happened after the news stopped reporting about the incident. I can only hope for the sake of all those families near the crash site that the work is almost over. It's time for them to find some peace and quiet.