September 10, 2010

Remembering New York City and 911

Lower New York City 1928
As a child I lived in Pennsylvania next to the center of my father's large family. My mother's family was less than three hours away, in New Jersey and New York City. I grew up in a contrast of languages, my father's Pennsylvania Dutch, and my mother's Slovak, Polish, Russian, and other languages which confused me even more. I loved going on long extended visits to see my New York relatives. The sounds, smells, and sights of the city became embedded beneath my skin. After we moved to Florida, I quickly adapted to southern living and culture. As a young adult I got to travel to many places, some exotic, and some not so exotic. But this is how we grew, how the world goes around, changing places and changing faces.

Broadway Looking North 1928
I traveled to New York City on a fairly regular basis throughout my adult life as it is one of the main retail centers in the world. I had to be there during every major market week and many smaller mini-markets throughout the year. My first office in New York City was in the Empire State Building, on the 79th floor. One particular elevator always seemed eerie to me. Sometimes the noise seemed deafening, particularly on the rare occasions when I was the only one in the elevator. I also hated walking the winding corridor to the ladies room where heat and more noise radiated through the walls. The July of the first year after I joined the company, I found out why, although I was still in Chicago packing for a trip to the Big Apple. Parade magazine ran a big article on the military plane that crashed into the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945 --- smack dab into the 79th floor leaving a gaping hole 18 feet high and 20 feet wide and destroying the offices along the corridor to the ladies room.

Wall Street NYC 1928
I had other offices, one on the Avenue of Americas, and one across fro the World Trade Center. I used to stop in the deli there for a bagel or breakfast sandwich. Occasionally I even had business meetings at the Trade Center, and friends. I left the corporate world for good when I opened my antique shop, but never forgot the excitement, or sounds, smells and sights of New York City.

In August of 2001, my husband and I had decided to move to another part of North Carolina and had just begun the process of purchasing a plantation and estate, looking to turn it into a B&B along with selling antiques. We had just returned from a final view of the property before making an offer when 911 happened. I know that the world stopped for many people on that day which forever altered our lives from one corner of the globe to the other. For me and my family, we stopped and took a long look around us and realized that home to us, was right where we were and should be.

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