I walked into my daughter’s room to be sure she was awake. Whitney Houston belted out The Star Spangled Banner on the radio.

My daughter mumbled “I don’t know” because this was uncharacteristic early morning fare for her station. I said, “I know” and after a moment of listening to the song transported by Houston’s voice, I murmured “It’s September 11.”

“Oh” my daughter replied, no more explanation needed.

As I made my tea I remembered a cold, crisp January night in 1977. Fresh out of college, I worked as a waitress, unable to find a “real” job in the recession. I wanted to save up a bundle, buy a car and go to San Franciso. It was my birthday and I could feel the potential of my life rocket through my veins.

NYC in the ’70s was gritty and edgy, but rising in the center of an area that no one lived but some pioneer artists was the WTC. Only a few years old on that wintery day, it beckoned my younger self with the promise of vistas and power. I wanted to go to the top; I wanted to see beyond my present.

So I spent a couple of hours on the Observation Deck with a friend. We were the only two people there except for a solitary guard who popped up occassionally. The night was incredibly clear and the lights throughout the city fascinated. We delighted in searching each direction for recognizable landmarks. The building would sway ever so slightly which gave us a heady reminder of just how high up we were. It was that night that I fell in love with the city, captivated by the magic of its intricate web of lights.

There were other visits to the WTC for celebrations, but that night offered me a private showing of NYC that has remained a memory in my mind’s eye of youthful potential and wonder.

In November 2001, while visiting FL, someone asked me what it was like in NY now. I replied “it’s like there’s a mountain that’s always been on your landscape. Suddenly it’s gone. It’s terrifically disorienting and sad. Of course, we lost more than the mountain.”

As a friend mentioned the other day “grief is not linear.”

My daughter was only 3 at the time, but I do know that she has been affected by that disaster. It is subliminal but it’s there. This morning as she rushed out with her croissant in hand, she tossed out a “love you!” I don’t get that every morning. Love is the best antidote I know. May it be with you today and everyday.

I’m thinking of an old song of Elton John’s which says it pretty well.

Love Song – Elton John

The words I have to say
May well be simple but they’re true
Until you give your love
There’s nothing more that we can do

Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen?

You say it’s very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But there’s no other way
And now it’s really up to you

Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen?

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