September 11, 2011

Remembering New York and 9/11

1928 View Wall Street
On this eleventh day of September 2015, I will say a prayer and remember. I will remind myself that life can be taken from us at any given moment and I will try to treasure this day. 

As a child I lived in Pennsylvania in a tiny town near 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 grow, how the world goes around, changing places and changing faces.

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.

Manhatten 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.

Ground Zero 1928
Now ten years later, I realize even more how dramatically my life changed. I went back to College and then on to earn my MFA. I made many changes, some difficult and some because the world as we knew it, had changed. We are and will continue to be in a constant change of flux,

On this eleventh day of September 2015, the cloudless sky is crystal blue, the air holds a hint of the fall season soon to come. Summer still lingers, but shadows dance upon the walls minutes earlier then the day before. I imagine at the ground zero sight, at a field in Pennsylvania, and where ever people lost their lives on this fateful day, thousands of shadows dancing and I hope that they are at peace, hope they are at rest. 

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