They say writing is very therapeutic and as I start to think of what I want to write, I feel horribly ill. Therapeutic? Yeah right…
I am NY born and bred. Being born in 1972, the Towers were always “there for me”. One of the coolest memories I had was the first time I went to Windows on the World (WOW). An ex-boyfriend rented a limo and took me there for my 19th birthday. It was soooo amazing. So, naturally, when I was offered a job there the following year (1992), I jumped at it. I worked with the coolest people at Cantor Fitzgerald and I took every chance I got to peek out the window from 105 floors up.
I missed the first attack on the WTC (I had taken the day off to pick up an Indian Headdress for my parents housewarming gift). The next day, however, I had gotten a call from my supervisor and he asked if I could come to work. They sent a limo to pick me up and I got to 4 NY Plaza (where Cantor had set-up temporary shop) and it was decided that we would venture up to the 105th Floor to input the trades from Friday (the day of the bombing). We got up there about midnight and two things I remember vividly - the smell of both smoke and the food from the cafeteria that lay there since Friday, and the soot everywhere. It amazed me that soot from the bombing in the garage traveled up more than 105 stories.
Anyways, I left Cantor in May of 1993. I remained in contact with several people for a while after my leaving, but as most people know, that only continues for about a year or so.
My professional life continued in the Wall Street area and I went to WOW many a night for the ambiance. My last job in NY was at American Express in the Financial Center (I now live in Macungie, PA) and I walked through the WTC every morning. I shopped there CONSTANTLY and continued to go to WOW. I loved those buildings and the prestige that went along with it.
On the morning of September 11, I remember waking up very happy/anxious. I met this wonderful man on September 7 and we had hit it off wonderfully (we’re still together). I saw him on September 8 and that night (9/11) he was coming to my apartment for dinner. I went in to work early so that I could leave at 5:00 and people asked what I was doing there. I told them I wanted to leave early to set-up for the night. Then, at 8:52, my phone rang. It was my friend from NY (David). He told me that a plane just hit 1 WTC and he was standing there watching it and his next words were “it’s a terrorist attack”. I instantly signed on to Yahoo and MSNBC but couldn’t find any info other than what he told me. My first thought was I hoped to God that people I used to work there left the company.
And then, when I was outside smoking a cigarette, the second plane hit. Thank God I wasn’t watching TV as it happened. Watching it after the fact was more than I could handle. Needless to say, I was hysterical. Then my next thought was I could’ve been there. I would’ve been walking through the building or the plaza at the time the first plane hit. American Express had fired me while I was on disability and I hated them for it, but now, I realized everything happens for a reason.
Several employees were in someone’s office here watching TV and I remember someone saying they thought the buildings were going to collapse. I said there was no way. I told them that because of their height, the buildings were made to swing 18 inches or so in any direction. I remember a Nor’easter in December of 92 that caused the building to move so much that I actually had to go down to the lobby and buy Dramamine. I remember the elevators slamming against the shaft from the wind and the movement of the buildings. I remember the water in the toilet moving. And then it happened….
God, all of those people. I’m crying as I write this. It’s now been a little over ten months and it still seems like a dream.
I left work and went home and watched TV all day and cried my heart out. I called everyone that I could (thankfully, all of my closest friends were OK - David had gotten trapped in a building while the buildings crumbled, but he was fine too). Dennis showed up at my house early because he knew of my attachment.
Ironically, we had talked for four hours the night before and upon finding out that he never even went out in NY (he grew up on a farm in Jersey), I told him that myself, my sister and a friend were going to the city that Friday (9/14) to celebrate my and my friend’s birthdays and that he was going with us and I was taking him to WOW. I told him my two favorite places were WOW and this restaurant in Arizona. My first words when I saw him were I guess we need to go to Arizona now.
The next day, I got a phone call from my mom. Elvin Romero, a guy who lived across the street from me for 18 years (his sister and I were in grade school together), was on the 104th floor. And then, it just snowballed…. John Gnazzo, Anthony Dionisio, Shannon Fava, Mike Wittenstein, Cathy Lougidice, Vinny D’Amadeo, Frankie Nazario, Tom Damaskinos, Joey Reina, Paul Nimbley. And many more whom I can’t think of as I write this. You know what pisses me off the most? The majority of them were my age with children my son’s age… They will always be in my thoughts and prayers along with all of the others who so senselessly lost their lives.
I remember when I told my son that I used to work there. His answer was “well I’m happy you live in Macungie”. My sister called me to tell me that I was a lucky bitch because I cheated that building twice. But you know what? I don’t feel so lucky…
Yeah, maybe this was therapeutic.
Sorry this is so long - I just couldn’t stop…