Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 189

A brief introduction:

My name is Paul Howley, owner of the Eisner Award winning pop culture collector’s store known as “That’s Entertainment” in Worcester, Massachusetts and a second store in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Some people have called me the “luckiest man in the comic book business.” (I’m not) My stores have been around for over thirty years and it’s been a long and interesting combination of events and people that have brought these stores to this current place. It is not my intent to boast or brag about my store or my life. I just want to tell you my story. In many instances, my wife remembers things a little differently, but this is the truth as I remember it.



The current cast of characters:

Paul Howley: age 46

Mal Howley: age 47

Adam Howley: my son, age 21

Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 17





   On September 11, 2001, my wife was just returning from a walk with some friends when she told me to put on the television because she heard that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I could barely believe what I was watching.


   When the second airplane hit the World Trade Center it became apparent that this was a planned attack. The news media began reporting bits and pieces of information as the information became available. Much of the information was speculation and inaccurate.


   As soon as we learned that one of the airplanes had come from Boston we became worried about the safety of Adam’s close friends Meridith and Phil who were still living in Boston. There were reports of airplanes circling the area and no one really knew if these planes were still under the control of the pilots. I called Meridith and urged her to get out of the city and she made arrangements to get back to her family home in Groton, Massachusetts.  I tried to call Phil but he didn’t answer.


   When I saw the news about the plane crashing into the Pentagon, I worried about my Dad’s safety because he was working in Rockville, Maryland, very close to the Pentagon at that time. He was doing some engineering consultant work for Direct TV and there were televisions in almost every office so the news of the plane crashing into the Pentagon travelled through the building very quickly. From an office window he could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. The phone lines were all tied up so it took about an hour before he could assure us all that he was safe.




   My cousin Steve, who owns a Boston-area comic book-collectible store similar to mine, called me dozens of times during the day to update me on what was happening in the Boston area. It was clear that this was a terrorist attack and we were all uncertain if this was all that the terrorists had planned.


  It didn’t take long before Al-Queda claimed responsibility for this attack. I remembered that Al-Queda has attempted to destroy the World Trade Center buildings back in the early 1990s but that’s all I really knew about them. Watching “The Today Show” each morning over the next few weeks revealed more information about the 19 Saudi Arabian murderous savages who had hijacked the three airplanes, killing nearly 3000 innocent people. These radical Muslim extremists had been disciples of Osama Bin Laden and been taught to hate the United States citizens. It all seemed so strange to me. Why would these maniacs want to kill innocent people?


  Over the next month or so, I kept waiting to see what action our government would take to punish this terrorist group. President Bush promised to hold them responsible but nothing seemed to be happening. Both political major parties seemed united in their desire for justice and there was a lot of political posturing and flag-waving. It wouldn’t be long before the Democrats would begin to “bash” the President.


Next chapter: My daughter and I perform together.