As a young child I delighted in our Magnavox HiFi. I would sit on the scratchy green wool sofa in our den while listening to Rosemary Clooney. Her album, Rosemary Clooney Sings for Children with its pink background was a clear favorite. I loved the track, Betsy, My Paper Doll, because I was the lucky recipient of the Betsy McCall paper dolls hidden in the pages of my mother’s McCall’s Magazine. The other song that spoke to me was The Little Shoemaker because my father was in the shoe business. At six, it felt like Rosemary Clooney was singing to me personally. I hadn’t realized Rosemary Clooney was an icon until years later when I watched her sing with Bing Crosby in White Christmas on the Sunday Million Dollar Movie.
I’m teary this weekend. It’s hard to watch the news because my mind pivots to the many clients who spoke of their losses the days, months, and years post-9/11. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, those of us who remember can clearly recall the exact circumstances when we witnessed or heard of the attacks. I am one of the fortunate who worked downtown, but I had taken the day off to attend a seminar. I never worked in the World Trade Center, but our social service center had a direct view. There were so many other stories like that of those who for unforetold circumstances were not in the towers when they fell.
Transitions can be tricky. We usually wish for a straightforward line to the next signpost, but what we often get is a winding road uphill. That is certainly the case these days. This past week is a perfect example of changed plans and tragic outcomes. Water and fire have altered lives irrevocably.
A few years ago I was at a networking event when I spotted an old acquaintance. I was happy to see her, filled with memories of the two of us with mutual friends enjoying parties, volunteering, and talks in the mid-80’s. When I approached her and reminded her who I was, in a cold tone she responded, “Yes, I know who you are.” I felt hurt and dismissed. I thought about those early years in New York City when I couch-surfed and lived hand to mouth. It was a hard time, and I was not always my best self. I had thought warmly of this person recalling her dedication to friends and of her strong work ethic. Her taciturn words indicated she thought less of me.