Anniversary of Millicent Fenwick’s Death

Ten years ago today, in the wake of 9/11, and on the 9th anniversary of Millicent Fenwick’s death on Sept. 16, 1992, I got an unexpected surprise. My trusted laptop died. Kaput.  No warning.

In the five days since September 11, I was still glued to the television. I watched the horrific scenes and heroic stories unfold. As a distraction from reality, on the anniversary of Fenwick’s death, I started tinkering with my draft chapters of what became “Millicent Fenwick: Her Way.” Change this, move this, delete that. Backing up didn’t cross my mind. I was on auto-pilot. My laptop was not. It had a mind of its own.

On Sunday evening September 16, 2001, it crashed. This couldn’t be happening, not now. I tried customer service, but it was late and they were closed. The next day I brought my laptop to work and called customer service during my lunch break. Before I did, I tried turning it on yet again. It worked! I quickly saved the edited chapters in question and then just as quickly my glimmer of hope evaporated. The screen went dark. Again. This time for good.

I called Dell and they had me take apart my whole computer. You should have seen it. Pieces everywhere. The result of this handy work yielded some bad news. The motherboard was dead. I needed a new laptop. This was not welcome news. My manuscript was due at the end of the year. Compounding the problem was September 11. Individual orders like mine were held in a queque while Dell prioritized orders from those who were impacted directly by 9/11. How could one argue with that?

The fact that my laptop faltered on the anniversary of Millicent Fenwick’s death was not lost on me. I always thought it was Fenwick sending a message. I still do.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Amy, What a story! But we know that with some great Garden State resilience, you got the job done. We are so happy to be featuring your book: “Millicent Fenwick: Her Way” at our NJ Authors’ Night, Saturday, September 24, 5-7 pm at the Elephant & Castle Restaurant, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC. All New Jerseyans and Fenwick fans are invited–no charge. Six NJ authors will be attending and 12 signed books for sale. More details at RSVP at


  2. Thank you so much – I can’t wait to see you on Saturday and everyone else. I hope a lot of Fenwick fans turn out for the National Book festival and the New Jersey Authors Night on Saturday at 5 p.m. See you there!


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